Committee on Finance. - Vote 50 — Industry and Commerce (Resumed).

I was referring last night to our experience of the working of the Undeveloped Areas Act. I had been dealing with certain criticisms that had been offered to the House. One could not complain too much of these criticisms. They seemed to be quite constructive. It is not true, of course, to say, that the Act has been a failure. It has not been a success to the degree we would have wished. Taking the County of Galway, without having official information as to the full extent of the help granted or in process of being granted, I am aware of four new industries which have come into existence as a result of the Act. I know that the extension of another one is being finalised at the present time. I am also aware of a further new industry which I feel confident is on the way. It is one of considerable importance.

My disappointment in the matter is in respect of Galway City, which is the largest urban area west of the Shannon and one in which the circumstances are such that one would have expected greater progress than has, in fact, materialised. I have been informed by people who are closely associated with industry that those who have money are still unwilling to hazard it in industrial enterprises particularly in the undeveloped areas, even with the assistance which is offered by the Act.

I read quite recently in the paper about an industry proposed for Sligo. I wish to congratulate the people of Sligo town on having made progress in getting a spinning industry. I understand that An Foras Tionscal has been quite generous in its help but that there is difficulty being experienced in raising £50,000 locally in Sligo. That experience, I think, has also been met with elsewhere. It is one thing to criticise the administration of the Act and to find fault with it. It is another to offer suggestions for its improvement in the light of the drawbacks and shortcomings which have shown up. I would suggest to the Minister that he would contemplate examining the desirability of amalgamating the bodies set up under the Undeveloped Areas Act and the Industrial Development Authority.

If, as has been stated by various speakers, it is comparatively easy to get industries in the vicinity of Dublin or along the east coast it seems to me that the Industrial Development Authority should not be required—in fact, should not be allowed—to direct its inquiries and activities for the promotion of industries in areas that are sufficiently well industrialised already and which, in fact, have shown that there is sufficient industrial momentum to allow industrial progress to proceed under its own steam. The activities heretofore scattered all over the whole country should be channelled in conjunction with the efforts of An Foras Tionscal to develop the areas which are under-developed.

That is decentralisation of the most important kind possible—decentralisation of industry. I hope that the Minister's attitude in relation to industrial decentralisation is not in any way comparable to that expressed by a colleague of his in relation to departmental decentralisation. The Minister, I am sure, knows that the previous Government was examining the possibility of removing certain departmental offices to areas away from Dublin. We were disappointed to note, since the change of Government, that, while decentralisation has not been unconditionally thrown overboard, it has been so qualified as to have been scrapped.

I think it was the Attorney-General who said at a Fine Gael conference in Sligo last September or October that in their view decentralisation did not mean the transference of civil servants from Dublin to provincial towns but that it did mean the enlarging of the powers of local authorities so that they would carry out duties that are now being performed by civil servants in Dublin. The implication was, if, in fact, he did not make a positive statement, to the effect that the City and County Management Act was going, in fact, to provide these extra powers. We know, of course, that that has not happened and that the Management Act is giving no extra powers of the kind referred to by the Attorney-General.

That, possibly, is not a matter for which the Minister is responsible, but in so far as decentralisation in general comes under the Minister's administration, perhaps, the remarks are not entirely irrelevant. I wish to express to the Minister the desire which I think is felt on all sides of the House, that the efforts of An Foras Tionscal to decentralise and to induce industries to the areas where industrialists are unwilling to go for various reasons should be intensified. The Minister has amalgamated the authorities dealing with tourism. I suggest that he might now carry out a further amalgamation in relation to the activities of these other two authorities, and that the representatives of the undeveloped areas can make a sustainable claim that all these governmental activities for the expansion of industry would from now on be diverted to these undeveloped areas.

It is also disappointing that at least one Minister has expressed complacence with regard to emigration. We have been criticised and pilloried very severely here because we did not succeed as a Government in eliminating emigration but in any event we did not attempt to make a virtue of the evil by glossing it over and saying that Irish men and women had always emigrated and that emigration had conferred enormous spiritual good on people who otherwise would never have had the benefit of the preaching of the Gospel.

The Minister deserves some criticism for the manner in which the projected establishment of an oil refinery has been allowed to be kicked around like a football from one port to another on the three coasts. The Minister made the announcement of the project at an inland town but since the announcement was made and after a large number of representatives of various ports had got together to formulate a claim, each group in respect of its own port, we have seen a statement published in a Labour journal which indicated that the Minister had no say whatsoever in the decision to establish an oil refinery in this country or as to its location.

If that is the case, the Minister has set a whole lot of well-meaning people in various ports around the coast on a wild goose chase. He may have a genuine explanation and, if he has, he ought to give it to them because they have all been chasing after what they regard as this industrial plum and now it seems that authorities over which the Minister has no control and very little influence have the final say in deciding the matter.

A member of this House who supports the Minister made a statement at a Galway meeting to the effect that we might ignore the major project of an oil refinery and concentrate on the subsidiaries. I do not know exactly what inside information the particular Deputy had in relation to the matter but it would be well for the Minister to make an early statement. If the authorities who are setting up this oil refinery have in fact communicated to him where this refinery is to be, he should publish that information and stop this wild goose chase that has been going on all over the country.

We know from previous efforts in relation to the establishment of an oil refinery that our national authorities have not the effective say in it. When the Minister's predecessor, pre-war, wanted to have something of the sort the people who control the oil supplies decided otherwise and that finished it. Now, apparently, they have decided that there should be an oil refinery in Ireland. If the change of mind on the part of the oil magnates has anything to do with strategy in relation to another world war then I think the Minister might exert some influence from that point of view and insist that he be informed from time to time of any new decisions.

I hope the Minister will make a definite statement as to the location of this industry and, in addition, indicate what subsidiaries will arise from it and how far these ancillary industries may be distributed at various ports other than the port at which the main oil refinery will be located so that the various organised groups in the various ports can direct their efforts to these lesser objectives. Perhaps there will be more of these consolation prizes to be won and that more people can be satisfied than it is possible to satisfy in relation to the main project.

Galway can make a good claim for one of these subsidiaries. We have a considerable number of unemployed in the City of Galway. We have one of the best sea approaches in the country. We have a port that is freer from fog than most ports in the country, and we are in a central position on the west coast with good land communication. I suggest to the Minister that, if he is serious about checking emigration and if private enterprise is not rising to his expectations in providing the employment to check it, he will do what he can in relation to what I may refer to as this State project to ensure that at least some of these potential emigrants will be given an opportunity to stay at home in Ireland.

I wonder would the Minister give us an explanation of the reduction in the amount provided for mineral development from £74,000 to £40,000. Our country is not outstanding for mineral deposits but that is all the more reason why we should not relax our efforts to ascertain the extent of valuable mineral deposits. I am interested in one very important mineral in my constituency—molybdenite. Exploration work has been going on there for some considerable time and I will give an opportunity to the Minister, by way of parliamentary question, to say exactly how far it has progressed. In any event, I think that the reduction, while it is small in relation to the total Vote provided for the Department, is very large in relation to the particular service for which it is provided, namely, mineral development. The reduction is practically 50 per cent.

There is another matter which I think requires some explanation. It is a matter somewhat similar to one raised by the Leader of the Opposition about moneys provided for the Department of Agriculture. It has to do with the provision for technical assistance. I notice there has been a reduction from £83,568 to £42,000. Surely a reduction in technical assistance requires close examination.

There were technical difficulties in implementing it. Although £82,000 was provided last year, only £22,000 was expended, so that the comparison is really between £22,000 and £42,000. Every effort will be made to spend more than the £42,000 this year if we can do it.

Perhaps the Minister would indicate the position more fully later. In other words, it has not been possible to expend the money. That answers one part of the reference I have made. The other is that £45,300 has been recouped from the American Grant counterpart Special Account. Objection was taken on this side of the House to the application of a sum of £900,000 for agricultural projects from this same fund as being a subvention to the Estimate and that it was not a proper method of accounting for public finances and that it should not be brought in to reduce the amount to be raised from home sources. The same type of operation apparently is being followed here. I have not got anything further to say on that, but perhaps the Minister will say something about it later.

The E.S.B. is a service which, in the minds of the public and of Deputies, is associated with the Department of Industry and Commerce. I do not find any particular reference under the various headings enumerated in the Book of Estimates for the Minister's Department, but seeing that the Minister has been answering questions from time to time in the Dáil on E.S.B. matters, I take it that it is proper to make a reference to E.S.B. administration on this Vote. If I am not in order I can leave the matter over for question and answer as has been the practice.

I have ruled out other Deputies on the matter. I did allow Deputies to go a little way so long as they did not go into the actual administration of the board.

The E.S.B. gets capital moneys and I take it that the general question of the supply of electricity in the rural areas is one on which perhaps the Minister might be able to give some information. He need not go into any great detail. Here is what I want information on: what principle is followed by the E.S.B. in excluding certain groups of houses which do not appear to me to be any further from the main line than others which are served and why are these groups of houses being asked to pay a very heavy special charge to get the service? It does not seem to make sense in the mind of any intelligent person that there should be this discrimination and there does not seem to be any pattern or any principle or any system of working in relation to the decisions on this matter.

We are all at sea; we are all guessing as to whether or not it is a toss up between the officials of the E.S.B. as to which group of houses or which village will be left out once the E.S.B. has decided it has got only a certain amount of money to spend. The whole thing—the administration of this rural electrification—is in such an uncertain state that I think the Minister should give some explanation either by way of a statement in the House or by asking the E.S.B. to issue an announcement setting out exactly what principles it follows in this regard and what rules and regulations it lays down, so that we will all know how the service is to be distributed. We are being asked questions by people and, frankly, we are unable to give any definite explanation as to whether certain people are to be provided with the service without having to pay a heavy special charge.

I would draw the attention of the Minister to the application of the Galway Harbour Commissioners for a harbour works Order. The Minister knows that a substantial grant was sanctioned by the last Government and confirmed by his, and that it is the second part of a scheme of harbour development which is necessary if Galway is to be able to cater for the larger and more improved type of ships now on the seas. The Minister is aware that the first part of the scheme was completed out of local resources and that not one penny of Government money was expended upon it. Now the second part of it has progressed to the point where an application for a harbour works Order has been made and the commissioners are not satisfied that there is not unnecessary and undue delay in attending to the issuing of the necessary Order. It may not give all the employment which many people expect, but it will give considerable employment and will take a number of people off the exchange who have been awaiting the starting of this scheme of harbour development to get employment.

I hope the Minister will not show the same unsympathetic attitude to this scheme as that shown to it during the first period of Coalition Government. A very short time before the change of Government in 1948 an application for a grant was made. That hung fire until a vacancy arose in Dáil Éireann for the West Galway constituency. Only when there was a by-election pending in West Galway did a decision emanate from the Coalition Minister for Industry and Commerce at the time and a grant, considerably short of the amount asked for by the commissioners, was provisionally approved. The Harbour Commissioners expressed their gratitude but, when a change of Government took place a couple of months after that approval, they asked for more from the Fianna Fáil Government; and they got more after some further delay.

Now there has been another change of Government and there are representative people in Galway, connected with the harbour, who fear there will be yet another prolonged delay before this matter is definitely decided. I hope we can count on the Minister's sympathy and his positive help in ensuring that that delay will be the shortest possible. I am sure the Minister will not object to schemes initiated by his predecessor. I am sure he will not object to them because they have not emanated from himself. Some of his colleagues have tried to change certain schemes initiated by Fianna Fáil so that the credit will go to them rather than to their predecessors. That is very narrow-minded. It is a very petty attitude. I think the present Minister is big enough to rise above any temptation of that sort, but we had some deplorable examples of it in the case of the chassis factory, the bus station and the transatlantic air service.

The experience gained in the first Coalition Government should have got the Coalition over the teething stage and during this second advent to office they should take a more sensible and grown-up view of public projects than they did on a former occasion. We forgive them for any lapse then, since it was their first experience of Government.

It is now up to us all to get down seriously to the job of finding employment for our unemployed. The Minister will earn the credit and he will have the gratitude of supporters of all Parties if he takes any definite steps to provide employment for our own people in their own localities, particularly along that stretch of our country which has not been so blessed by Providence with natural wealth—I refer to that area from Donegal to Cork—as other parts of the country.

If we can establish worthwhile industries in these areas we will solve the emigration problem. We will not solve the problem by agricultural development alone because our holdings are too small. While a considerable improvement in agricultural output through the medium of modern techniques and land improvement can perhaps be achieved there is not enough land for division and our one hope lies in industry. I appeal to the Minister to ensure that the efforts of the Industrial Development Authority together with the activities of An Foras Tionscal will be directed from now on to locating as many industries as possible west of the Shannon.

It has been suggested to me that people with capital to invest distrust Irish industry. They prefer to put their money into Government guaranteed stock where they will be sure of their return straightaway rather than divert it into providing employment for their neighbours. That being the attitude, the Minister might consider taking their money from them by way of loan for the establishment of industries in these areas. If necessary, he can bring in technicians from abroad to run these industries. We all know that we cannot rely on a Government Department to do this kind of work. If the people who are in a position to help themselves do not do so and keep looking to the Government for the establishment of these industries, then I think the Government should take these people at their word. Some experiments should be carried out by the Government in relation to a few specially selected industries.

I know that if the Minister does that there will at once be an outcry of State interference and nationalisation. If these people have failed themselves to avail of all the efforts made by the State and all the help given by the State, consistent with the basing of industry on private enterprise, then there will be no substance in their complaint if the Minister goes and does the job himself. I suggest there should be a few useful experiments in that respect west of the Shannon.

In an Estimate which covers such a wide field it is only natural that certain aspects should be laboured at some length. Deputies on both sides appeal to the Minister to do this, that and the other. The first thing I would like to have is a definition of the Minister's powers in relation to some of these appeals. We all know that this House has at different times taken out of the hands of the Minister and passed into the control of certain bodies and boards certain vital powers. These boards and bodies are almost completely independent of this House now and Deputies who endeavour to elicit information on certain aspects of their activities are invariably told that the Minister has no functions in such matters. To name but a few of them, there are C.I.E., the E.S.B., Aer Lingus, the Tourist Board and so on. I want to make it quite clear that I, for one, deplore the tendency of successive Governments to hand over almost complete powers to some of these bodies.

We have the same position in relation to other Departments, so that we ask ourselves, when speaking in this House on matters appropriate to the country in general, or to our own particular area, if the Minister has power to help us? That seems to me to be the position. I want to impress on the Minister that I feel sure he is the right man for the job, but that he should act as Minister and not be Minister only in name as has happened in the past and that he should ensure that the workings of all these various boards are closely and carefully watched and that if there are any grievances or justifiable complaints they should be attended to without delay.

I want to make that statement at the outset because I believe it is necessary to make known to these boards and their hierarchies that they are not the independent gentlemen they set themselves up to be.

Having said that, I want to get on to another problem and this has been mentioned in the House frequently— industrial development. The main function of the Department is — or at least should be—the stimulation of industrial development. Mention has been made by various speakers of the lack of industrial development, particularly in provincial areas and rural districts. In no place does that apply more than in the constituency that I represent, West Cork. When industries were promoted here in the early years of the State they were surrounded by big tariff walls and people from all over the country had to bear their share of taxation in building up these tariff walls. It was hoped at that time that industries, seeing that they were subsidised, would be spread out in a reasonable way over the country and not, as at present, centralised in the big centres.

Since I came into this House we have this contention put forward by various Deputies from rural areas again and again on the debate on industry and commerce and on other appropriate debates. But I do not see that any great improvements have been effected. I hope the Tánaiste, as the present Minister for Industry and Commerce, will do something more than his predecessors have done so far as the promotion of industries in provincial towns and in rural Ireland is concerned.

The plight of business people and others in the provincial towns has been stressed by a number of Deputies in this debate and I think rightly so, because many of these people are in extreme difficulty. If we examine the position of such towns, say, as Clonakilty, Dunmanway and Castle- townbere, Skibbereen and Bantry we find there is no industrial development of any kind. We in West Cork got the worst possible treatment from every Government, whether Cumann na nGaedheal, Fianna Fáil or inter-Party, so far as giving us anything in the line of an industry down there was concerned. We owe no thanks to any Government or Party for helping us because we got none, but, mark you, we have to pay to subsidise some of these industries which were completely uneconomic in other districts. I think it is about time, seeing that we have paid now over a long period of years, that we did get some consideration ourselves.

I want to tell the Tánaiste the position that obtains in such towns as I named. You have business declining rapidly. When you examine the causes for this decline you find, first of all, that these towns are now surrounded by groups of creameries which supply all commodities, fertilisers, foodstuffs and household commodities of every class, not to mention all kinds of drapery and so on. The position now is that these creameries have almost a complete monopoly of the trade in the rural districts and there is little or no need for the people to travel to the towns to transact their business.

Into the bargain — and a second reason—is the setting up of travelling shops. We have a number of travelling shops all over the country. It is debatable whether it is right or proper to allow these travelling shops to operate but, however, they are there, and they may be of certain benefit to the rural population inasmuch as they bring to the doors of the people what they want without imposing any burden of travelling on them. Be that as it may, they are contributing their own share to the decline of the provincial towns and, that being the case, I believe there is some obligation on the Minister and the Government to ensure that some measures will be taken to offset the decline so caused.

It has been put up here, of course, by Deputies from every constituency that this and that industry should be granted to them. I know it is impossible for any Government or for any Minister to set up industries in every town and village in this country and that there is little use in setting up any industry unless there is some reasonable hope that it will be a success or at least eventually a success. It may be said that at first an industry may need some subsidisation, but that subsequently it may be able to stand on its own feet and be helpful to whatever district in which it is located. What is more, we can nominate to the Minister industries which we believe would be suitable to the constituency of West Cork. I feel sure that Deputy Collins, who was here in the House, and who knows the problems of the people there just as well as I do and is equally interested in seeing that these problems will be solved, will bear me out when I say that we have the basis for a number of industries in West Cork.

The Ceann Comhairle may think it is out of place to localise this debate but what applies in West Cork could be said to apply all along the west coast; and to nominate an industry, and put it before the Minister, I want to say that a bacon industry is undoubtedly due to West Cork because in no part of this country is the pig population higher than it is in West Cork. Since I have come into this House I have pleaded again and again that some such industry should be established, or at least that the Departments of Agriculture and Industry and Commerce should give every help to establish such an industry. But the Departments in the past—whether it applies to them to-day or not—always had a very handy excuse: that there is no feasible project put up or that these people who are promoting the industry are not prepared to put up sufficient capital to warrant consideration by the Department.

If you examine the matter you will find that it is detrimental to industrial development in the provincial towns. You will see a big businessman, a provider, perhaps, who employs ten, 12 or 14 men in one of these towns. He may be the man of money in that particular town but he knows very well that if an industry is set up it may change his position. He may have to improve the conditions of workers and improve the meagre pay which many of them get in these provincial towns at present and, looking at it from a personal angle, he may feel it is not in his best interests that an industry should be developed. I hate to make such a statement in regard to some of our big businessmen in this country but I believe it is quite true. That being the case, it is very hard to find the capital which the Department demands before it will even consider such a proposal.

To come back to this question of the bacon factory, it is a very important item in West Cork and it is discussed a good deal by many people there at present as my friend and colleague, Deputy Collins, will confirm later. We have the biggest pig population in the country there. We have everything that one could look for for such an industry and I ask that Deputy Norton as Minister should explore the possibility or should send down someone of his officials to explore the possibility of establishing this industry.

Might I suggest this is a very good speech, but it is more appropriate to the Vote for the Department of Agriculture because bacon factories are licensed by the Minister for Agriculture, not by me.

There is no co-ordination between the different Departments. When you speak of industry in this House—you have such items as agriculture, fishing, and so on, which are very important industries—they are not even appropriate to the debate in question.

Would you start co-ordination on the Agriculture Vote and work back to this one?

I have commented adversely on the co-ordination that exists between different Departments and having brought this question of a bacon factory for West Cork so often to the notice of the Department of Agriculture and got nowhere, probably I was expecting that the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Industrial Development Authority might have been helpful. Consequently, I thought it no harm to mention it in the course of this discussion.

The Deputy will have an innings on the other Vote.

Did the Minister for Agriculture not suggest it might be done by establishing a co-operative bacon factory?

The Deputy has a wide field on this Vote.

I only want to discuss matters of major importance because I know all these items have been gone over again and again during the course of this debate. What I am trying to point out is that even in Industry and Commerce and even with this Industrial Development Authority——

You are talking about agricultural not industrial matters.

Would you not say a bacon industry was an industry at all or is the term inapplicable? What I was trying to suggest to the Tánaiste was that he should send one of the members of this Industrial Development Authority, which costs some thousands of pounds to this country, to West Cork or maybe to other districts to make a report on the position in those areas. I cannot see at all what service these gentlemen in the Industrial Development Authority are giving for the money of which they are in receipt. I think the amount is in the neighbourhood of £12,000 and I would like to know what value this body gives for that £12,000 or does it give any value whatsoever? Could that body not be helpful in co-ordinating industrial development between the different Departments, say Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries, Industry and Commerce and so on?

I would like to hear of the amount of work done for the State by the Industrial Development Authority. I have made the case to the Minister so far as our bacon factory is concerned even though he believes it is not appropriate to his Department. However, as Tánaiste and Minister for Industry and Commerce, he should be concerned to see that more co-ordination exists between himself and other Ministers so far as development is concerned. I believe this is work that should be carried out collectively by the Government.

There are various matters, such as fishing, afforestation, and so on, which probably would be counted by the Ceann Comhairle as irrelevant to this debate. They are very important items but I feel sure if I mentioned them I would draw the wrath of the Ceann Comhairle on me so I will avoid reference to them until another day.

You have done fairly well as it is.

That was a wise suspicion on your part.

The Minister mentioned mineral development. This surely comes within the scope of the Department of Industry and Commerce. It was mentioned here in the House by a number of Deputies representing West Cork back through the years, including two of us here at present, Deputy Seán Collins and myself. West Cork is rich in mineral resources. We have a good deal of slate deposits and we have so far failed to get any help from any Government Department to develop that industry, so that it is almost a dead letter now with the possible exception of a few places. Secondly, we have rich deposits of barytes, which was worked by private enterprise over a number of years and successfully so in various districts of West Cork. Apparently no help whatever could be got from the Department or from any Department in recent years to help to develop that mineral. I would just leave these matters to the attention of the Minister. I feel sure he is big enough to look into these questions and be as helpful as he possibly can.

I feel certain that when Deputy Briscoe speaks in this debate, if I may anticipate him, that among other matters he will be mentioning air services.

This has emerged as a very big question in the debate, the provision of proper air services. Many people claim that they should be on a more grandiose scale than at present and that the people who intend to travel by air are not getting the facilities they should get. I disagree entirely with that and believe that we should take first things first. The air services are good enough at the present time to meet the needs of this small country with less than 3,000,000 of a population. A good deal of the money expended on those services should be devoted to some other field where it could be more gainfully employed. I wonder do the people of this country know that the liability on Shannon Airport this year is £362,348? Mind you, £362,348 is a big figure for one year.

What would that sum of money do if it were expended, say, on works such as those mentioned by Deputy Bartley or by myself in developing the western or southern portions of this country which are still completely under-developed? I claim here that in subsidising Shannon Airport we are subsidising the wealthy section of the people of this country. If people want quick and speedy travel they should pay for it themselves instead of being subsidised by their neighbours, many of whom will scarcely ever see an aeroplane not to talk of sitting or travelling in one. I am against paying hundreds of thousands of pounds by way of subsidising air travel in this country. I maintain to-day, as I have maintained on other occasions, that air travel is more or less confined to the wealthy new classes and if those people want a speedy journey then they should pay for it.

Or go by ass and cart.

I would point out that the people with the ass and cart have to live in this country also even though Deputy Briscoe may sneer at them. Many people in my constituency have no means of conveyance except the ass and cart, which Deputy Briscoe has ridiculed. I say that those people are as good Irishmen as the people who travel by aeroplane and, further, that when this country needed men the people for whom I speak gave more help from every point of view— nationally and otherwise—than the people whose air travel we are subsidising through this money which we are handing over to Shannon and other airports. Personally, I entirely disagree with the expenditure of these big sums of money on projects which are not altogether too essential. I come now to the subject of tourism.

You object to that too, I suppose?

Order! Deputy Murphy should be allowed to make his speech without interruption.

I am only helping him.

Deputy Murphy does not require any help.

We in West Cork are very interested in tourism.

And the Deputy wants to stop them from coming by abolishing the means?

We do not have to pay for them to come.

You want them and you do not want them.

We have the loveliest bit of country down there.

Order! Deputy Murphy is entitled to make his speech without interruption. Deputy Briscoe will get every opportunity of making his speech later.

I think I will deal with this in a local manner. In West Cork we have a plentiful supply of the most beautiful seaside resorts in this country. All we need is somebody from this board which is now under the Department of Industry and Commerce to help us to develop those sea-side resorts. Take, for instance, Glandore. I understand the Minister once visited Glandore and was delighted with the scenery there. I am quite sure he will take a personal interest in bringing that matter to the attention of An Bord Fáilte. There are many other beautiful places such as Baltimore, Schull and the Bere-haven Peninsula. We have got some grants from the Tourist Board and we are grateful for them, but we require a good deal more.

I believe the Minister should see to it that areas such as West Cork, Kerry, Galway, and so forth, which are underdeveloped in other respects—which are lacking other amenities but which have this great advantage for attracting tourists—should get all the help possible to develop one of the few amenities they have — their scenery —and to provide proper roads and proper accommodation for visitors. In my view, any money expended in helping the local people in these villages and towns to develop their districts is money better spent than money which is handed over towards the provision of de luxe air travel. What has Deputy Briscoe to say to that?

I will answer the Deputy when I am making my speech.

I will leave that question to the Minister and turn now to the subject of electrification. It is almost 30 years since Deputy Briscoe and his colleagues on the Opposition Benches said that the setting-up of a big rural electrification project would result in the greatest white elephant this country had ever known.

We initiated rural electrification. It was not dreamed of by——

You people laughed at rural electrification. The Shannon was for the towns and cities only. You did not dream of rural electrification.

Deputy Murphy, without interruption.

If Deputy Brennan and his colleagues had had their way, there would be no need for me to refer to this matter to-day except, perhaps, to ask the Minister to initiate it.

We provided a subsidy for rural electrification.

You took over the machine when it was working. However, for 19 years Fianna Fáil held up rural electrification——

By doubling development.

You got the machine when it was well-oiled. If you had used it correctly or if it had been in other hands then it would have been dealt with more efficiently and possibly the whole of rural Ireland would be enjoying the benefit of electricity to-day.

The Deputy should look up the rate of progress.

I want to ask the Minister to help as much as possible in expediting the extension of rural electrification to all those parts of the country where electricity is not at present available. It is a very valuable amenity and one which it is difficult to do without in these modern times. Every effort should be made to extend it to all parts of the country. It is all right for Deputy Briscoe to talk as he does: he is not conversant with the full position. He knows only this little bit around Dublin.

I again appeal to the Minister to help in promoting industries in rural Ireland. The position to-day is that 22 per cent. of our people — 624,000 people —are centred in Dublin. Roughly, one-fifth of our population is centred in this small area of Dublin and the position will worsen, because in the provincial towns and in rural Ireland emigration is going ahead to-day as freely as ever. There is no use in blinding ourselves to the facts. I know many people—and I am sure my friends who represent the same localities in Cork know them, too — whose only problem now is to find suitable employment in England, as they have given up the idea that they will ever find it here under any Government.

Having regard to the steps taken over a number of years, I think they are correct in that surmise. We read in the papers of the hazards which some of those people have to undergo —particularly young girls and boys— in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other cities and when we take cognisance of that surely there should be some deeper obligation on the people who control industry here to provide employment for them at home. It is exceptionally peculiar that this small country with a population of less than 3,000,000 cannot provide work for all these people at home. If we had a proper team of experts at the top and better co-ordination, useful productive employment could be provided for every man and woman in the country. These lackadaisical efforts made by successive Governments are not the way to meet the problem.

I will conclude by saying that I have great faith — now that we have a Minister of our own in charge of Industry and Commerce — that the position is going to change. The present Tánaiste is not in charge of that important Department for so long. I feel sure that the bulk of his time has been taken up in going over the misdeeds of his predecessor and trying to ascertain the best methods of rectifying the position he found obtaining after him and after the Government of which he was a member. Now that these preliminary investigations have concluded or are about to conclude, I would ask him to get down to the work of trying to give to our Irish boys and girls employment here at home, to devise some means or to initiate some kind of top system whereby representatives from the different Departments could meet and devise schemes which would help industry. Which would promote business in the towns, which would help to develop agriculture, fishing, afforestation and other useful industries and which would give productive employment.

The people — particularly the young people — are losing faith in successive Governments. I hope—and I have no doubt he will achieve it—that Deputy Norton will change the whole position and that in the not too distant future— say probably in three or four years, or a good while before the next election— we will have the position here, due to the foresight and capabilities of our present Minister for Industry and Commerce, that neither myself nor my friends, Deputy Bartley and Deputy Collins, will have reason to complain about emigration or about industrial development, as the wheels will have turned and full employment will be available at decent wages for all our people, which I feel sure is the desire of every one of us.

I do not intend to intrude at great lengths on this debate. First of all, I would like to offer good wishes to the Tánaiste in the task he has undertaken in this Department. There are facets of national development with which his Department is vitally interested and I feel an obligation to direct his attention to some of the problems most urgent of solution in the constituency represented by myself and Deputy Murphy.

I am not going to take the line that my colleague took, that you need experts at the top to stimulate this industrial development or to see the full extension of the powers of either the Industrial Development Authority or An Foras Tionscal. I feel the Minister would be better advised to get some kind of roving organiser into these areas to explain the benefits and the potentialities of industrial development and the facilities that can be made available to them by the Department in these circumstances. It is not pleasant to find that the drive must come all the time from the top. One would be more gratified to see that the effort and the goodwill were there locally, needing only co-ordinated development and intelligent direction to find fruition in some kind of industry.

The two greatest hampering factors to development in rural Ireland of any type of industry are bound up with the fact that Ireland has become far too Dublin-minded and, secondly, that transport costs are prohibitive against any industry in isolated areas. The Department has a very grave responsibility—one which I feel it is constantly shirking—that is, of getting down to the situation in localities such as those I represent in western areas and all over the western seaboard. The people there are not sufficiently informed or sufficiently aware of the facilities, nor are they aware of the encouragement and help that can be given. I had occasion recently to have discussions with the directorate in An Foras Tionscal and they seemed to have the same difficulties as I have. They find that it is impossible to get people to crystallise something into a definite proposal.

I am suggesting to the Minister that a very effective way of helping that is to take a leaf out of the book of a society like the I.A.O.S., which at one time sent organisers around to deal with the problem of getting group or collective supplies of milk in certain centres. If some one sufficiently knowledgeable were sent around, knowing the facilities available and knowing what industry might be suited to a locality, that person could probe and work in the locality and see what nucleus he could develop there, from both the financial subscription point of view and from the interest point of view. From that it might be possible to take practical steps towards development in those areas of industries, either large or small, that would give local employment.

There is no point—I have learned from sad experience—in year after year repeating pious aspirations in this House. It is only too painfully true, as my colleague Deputy Murphy has said, that in all the years of self-government there has been an aching void in west Cork in that respect. We had a tradition in west Cork in flax and linen but when they started a spinning plant in Cork County they had to move it away to a part of the county that never grew flax and had never been interested in it.

There is something wrong in the approach of the whole Department to industrial development. I think the main fault lies in the fact that there never has been a co-ordinated regional plan for industry, taking the country as a whole. Industries have been stuck up haphazardly in places, without any real planning and without dealing with the problem of the moving of populations. We are in this horrible position to-day that the instinct of anybody trying to start an industry is to get a position adjacent to Dublin, if at all possible, or to Cork or Limerick. How are you going to get over it? That is a problem which I pose to the Minister, not in the spirit of giving him something that is unanswerable, but in the spirit of trying to force him to come to grips with the reality of the potential of industry in the more isolated areas.

The Minister diverted, with humour, Deputy Murphy's claim in relation to a bacon industry and it is quite true that a bacon industry, as such, may be initially a problem for the Department of Agriculture, but there are many subsidiaries of that type of industry which might well come within the ken of the Department, whether it be the development of a cannery to deal with certain by-products of the pig or the canning of gammons and other bacon parts for export. But no—the point of view of the Department is clear. They will always retreat to the line of defence that there is no proposal before the Department.

I am suggesting seriously to the Department that it would be a very healthy and welcome change of attitude if, in the wilderness of increasing officialdom, they found a number of people with an understanding of these areas, with an understanding of the characteristics of the people in these areas and some knowledge of the type of skill which might be hereditary in them, and sent them down into these areas to sell a worthwhile idea to the people there. If they do that, they will find that the financial subscriptions will be available and that the group will form itself for the purpose of development. I throw out that suggestion because I believe that that type of stimulus in a rural locality would lead to far better results than all the speeches one might make and all the prating one might do in this Chamber.

The Minister has a good deal of responsibility in relation to prices and the question of consumer costs. I am not going to suggest that the Minister could have worked miracles in the short period for which he has been in office, but I make the suggestion that it would be greatly to the benefit of the community at large if the results of various investigations which have already been held and which should now be to hand were made available to the public, so that they might see whether or not many of the distribution costs and many of the charges for proprietary articles are not far in excess of what they should be. People in this country are becoming tired of prices advisory bodies which do not give reports and Fair Trade Commission investigations which take too long to show results. I am not pressing that beyond the point of saying that, in the interest of these bodies themselves, in the interest of retention of public confidence in them, it is necessary that reports of their investigations should be made as expeditiously as possible and that there should be no inordinate delays in the publication of their findings.

There is a good deal of contention in progress at the moment in trade in consumer goods, and particularly in the grocery trade. There is a virtual warfare within the tradevis-à-vis the cash trader and the resale price maintenance trader, and I urge on the Minister that this inquiry which commences next Monday should be completed with the greatest possible expedition and that he should make every effort to get the report as rapidly as possible, because, while we cannot specifically expect the Minister to have positive control in relation to the upsurge of costs of many items, we can at least expect of him and his Department the minimum possible amount of interference in trade, particularly when the tendency of the trade is to make conditions better for the consumer than they are at present. I propose deliberately to refrain from a protracted discussion of this facet of the Department's work in virtue of the fact that the Fair Trade Commission inquiry into this trade is opening on Monday. It took a very long time, despite ministerial assurances, to get the inquiry commenced and I hope that does not augur inordinate delays in getting the inquiry's results.

We must pass for a moment to a problem which is seriously agitating the minds of Deputies who represent areas like that which I represent. There is no doubt that there are many instances of the problem adverted to by Deputy Bartley. There are many isolated pockets in rural areas where there seems to be an excessive charge for hooking up with the existing current facilities of the E.S.B. There are many complaints, and, I think, in many cases, justifiable complaints, about the charges in relation to current in certain rural areas and I am not very enamoured myself of the recent change whereby it is inevitable that certain increases in charges will be borne by the agricultural community; but be that as it may, I do think it is the duty of the Minister to ensure that the policy of the E.S.B. is equitablevis-à-vis every rural subscriber and consumer and that where there is no specific reason, no specific justifiable reason, there should be no continuation of this inordinate charge levied on certain houses merely because of location or difficulty of access. Many of these houses were built long before the E.S.B. current, as such, was contemplated in this State. It is, indeed, some queer travesty of justice that location alone is needed to put these people vis-à-vis their neighbours in a relatively worse position.

I would like to support what was said by Deputy Barry from Cork City. The Minister will have to consider seriously, in relation to the general policy of the E.S.B., whether it is advisable to create a preferential resale or sale monopoly in relation to electric appliances within the E.S.B. Is it fair to multiple traders, many of them small traders in rural towns and villages, that they have to compete against this essential State monopoly on terms that they find it difficult to compete against because of the simple, ready-made way of deferred payments available to the E.S.B. and, furthermore, their continued guarantee of payment by virtue of their arbitrary powers in relation to unpaid accounts?

I agree with you.

I am making, I hope, abone fide case for the small trader in a town. We will welcome any support that Deputy Briscoe might like to give. I think it is time it was crystallised into its real picture. The E.S.B. with its autocratic powers, or in its present exercise of autocratic powers, is not a fair competitor with any other type of electrical trader. I have always been against the ever-spreading tentacles of State boards. I think it is infinitely more important to this State that the E.S.B. should concentrate on its primary job of developing and providing the current necessary for the nation as a whole. It would be infinitely more healthy for the nation to see the small trader, or indeed the big trader, in normal, healthy competition for the consumer market. There is that difficulty in this country, all the time, where State bodies get control. This tendency continues to grow.

I want to deal, possibly from a different point of view, with tourism in relation to my constituency. I have always been proud to assert that there is nowhere in Europe that nature abounds in its glory more than it does in West Cork, whether it is mountain, sea or lake. There is no corner of Ireland where there has been such an extraordinary generosity by nature in its varieties. But despite repeated requests in this House, I have never yet succeeded in getting the official ear attuned to the necessity of giving reasonable publicity to many of its most charming, but less known spots. I remember pressing in this House in years gone by for a proper handbook or coloured brochure to be published in relation to places such as Glandore or indeed many of the other excellent panoramas in which the area abounds.

Do not forget Glengariff.

Or go back through Glengariff up the Ouvane river, on to Guagane Barra into Inchigeela where, amid a natural variety and a natural beauty, are the most hospitable people in the world. I do not know why, instead of many of the cod projects An Bord Fáilte has been able to evolve, it has never been able to do something effectively about the tourist beauties of parts of Ireland. If Deputy Deering wants Wicklow limelighted I cannot see why An Bord Fáilte cannot make use of a photographic unit to give us something on the lines that we get in myriad profusion from other countries, whether it is the travel talks by Mr. Fitzpatrick, or the items now being published in serial form of various counties in England, their peculiarities and their traditions, or whether it is the various types of other documented photography in which famed spots like Rome, Lucerne or other spots in Europe are portrayed. Why cannot we in this country produce something of that nature that would enable people to know the variety of scenery that exists, and the facilities available in different parts of Ireland, so that they would be able to choose, in a ready way, where they want to go?

I can never understand how it is that when you meet people, whether they are Americans, Englishmen or Irishmen from some other part of the country, who have gone through West Cork for the first time, they will say they did not know that it existed till then.

They will profess their amazement at the profuse mixture of the grandeur and variety of the scenery, but that does not worry An Bord Fáilte. It is time that the board responsible for tourist development in this country started at the right end of tourism instead of proceeding on some of the cod projects. I know perfectly well that if there was some co-operation between the Tourist Board, and effective use of the money made available for the development of tourist roads, places like Glandore would not be virtually inaccessible because of narrow roads, and the wild grandeur of the Healy Pass would not be left a virtual sheep track.

This is the type of thing that should be done to develop tourism especially where you have available within ready distance facilities for swimming, boating and fishing. Surely that is something to which the Minister could direct the attention of An Bord Fáilte? Publicity in that respect would be a considerable stimulus to those isolated districts. I speak only of West Cork as being typical of the seaboard right round to the Inishowen peninsula.

In relation to the area I represent generally, there has not been any really effective survey in regard to minerals. It is an extraordinary thing that in an area with such a tradition in mineral wealth the Department lightly brushes aside the matter and Mianraí Teoranta say they cannot find any workable deposits. But it is known to us and to the Department that enterprises other than Mianraí Teoranta have been looking for and refused concessions. I wonder if anybody has really investigated properly what are the potentialities of our slate and bauxite deposits or whether there was anything in the investigations carried out privately by the British Board of Trade in recent years as to the possibility of the reopening of the copper mines in Allihies?

It is very difficult to be patient all the time. It is very difficult to be patient especially when one has the honour to represent the type of people who were foremost in the sacrifices that we might be free. I think it is about time that a good deal of the nonsense and red tape of Departments was cut out. Instead of people chasing around, somebody should get down to the job of investigating the problem in its entirety. If the Minister and his Department are not prepared to do it, let us give leasehold rights to other people to exploit the minerals that they are satisfied abound in certain of the mountainous regions of West Cork.

I do not want to cover the wide field opened by this debate. My main interest, quite callously and selfishly, is in trying to get something done to resuscitate business and stimulate development in West Cork. I ask the Minister seriously to consider the practicability of having someone tour this area to show the facilities available and discuss with the local people what industries might be practical in the area and see what could be done. After all, it was as a result of such a type of investigation that the cooperative creamery movement was born. That is a movement which has grown at a tremendous rate.

It is not easy to pin-point industries that could be put here, there and everywhere because of the difficulties that exist in regard to overhead costs for any industry that moves outside a certain zone. Transport to market and to port for export leads to overhead costs. That can be very substantially minimised if the industries are located in such populous districts as Dublin, Cork or Limerick.

The Minister should at least ensure that C.I.E. should route their buses, particularly their tourist buses, in the West Cork area, through some of the charming spots that they now ignore. There are places all over Ireland as well as West Cork that for some strange reason C.I.E. do not put on the map at all. After all, the greatest development any tourist centre can ever have is provided by a growing number of tourists. Every visitor can himself be an effective propaganda agent to induce other visitors to come.

I feel—and I have always felt—that An Bord Fáilte got away from reality and started to digress into operations which were more suitable to another type of body. If one wants investigation into quality and standard of hotels, food and that type of thing, that to my mind is completely different from the primary function of making Ireland and its beauty known throughout the world. I think that An Bord Fáilte from the very beginning started to think from the wrong end. If tourists came it would be amazing how quickly they would force up the standard. The person who pays repeated visits to any country can be very effective in improving the standard of accommodation in hotels. Such a tourist will not take the shoddy article if he can get something better. There is nothing to beat that type of competition in improving standards.

We have fallen down on propaganda in regard to Ireland and its scenic beauties. That is inexplicable to me in view of the comparatively small cost that would be involved. The amazing thing about this country is that there are thousands of people going out to look at scenery that is second rate to our own because they do not know about Ireland and many people have never heard of some of the loveliest little places with which our coast abounds.

My main purpose in intervening in this debate was to say that the Department might direct Bord Fáilte back into channels of reality. Let the people see Ireland as it really is and it will sell itself; Bord Fáilte will not have to sell it.

I do not expect miracles from the Minister but I do expect that at least he will make some realistic effort to find a way to stimulate industrial development of some type—it may not be of a very elaborate type — in rural areas. He can start in my constituency by exploring minerals, by exploring the possibility of development of lace weaving around the Glengarriff area, by exploring the possibilities of establishing a subsidiary to the linen industry in an area that is famous for the quality of its flax. These things can be done. The Minister can make an effort to cooperate with the Fisheries Branch who are to develop ice plant and various types of facilities for fishermen in Schull. He can get his Department to see whether it is possible for them to stimulate some type of fish canning and curing industry that might lead to a worthwhile industry somewhere in West Cork. These things are not beyond the bounds of possibility and not beyond normal imagination but, if done, they will make a people grateful to a Government for giving them the chance to exist at home.

Deputy Barry and Deputy Collins touched on a particular matter with which I am in full agreement. First of all, I would like to refer the House to a portion of the Minister's introductory statement. At col. 531, Vol. 149, No. 4 of the Dáil Debates, the Minister, in introducing his reference to the E.S.B., said:

"No provision is made in 1955-56 for a payment of this nature as it is considered that the need for State assistance from voted moneys in pushing forward with the work of rural electrification has passed."

The few words preceding that were:

"In the Estimates for the year 1954-55 a sum of £84,600 was provided for the repayment of advances for rural electrification."

This House passed an Act to enable the State to give a subsidy of half the cost of rural electrification. Now, without any sanction from the House, the Minister proposes to stop payments which I say he is liable to make and bound to make under what has been passed by this House. Perhaps it would be sufficient if the Minister will answer a few questions arising out of it.

First of all, I would like to ask is this retrograde step a violation of the guarantee given that the State would be responsible for 50 per cent. of the capital charges accruing from rural electrification? Secondly, does the Minister propose to bring in the necessary legislation to make it legal for him to act as he is now proposing to act? Thirdly, I would like to know what is the expected impact on existing customers? Does it mean that they will have to pay additional charges because there is now the full capital cost on the E.S.B. as distinct from only 50 per cent. or does it mean that when the scheme would advance to a sufficient stage of development there would be in fact reductions in the cost of current?

I want to go on record as saying emphatically that this is a very serious step taken by just a short reference to a figure of £80,000, which was the amount which came in course of payment for a previous year, being half the cost of capital development for rural electrification.

There have been a few references to past behaviour by members on this side of the House in the very distant past when the State undertaking was first begun. The Shannon scheme, as it was then called, was a scheme to cost £5,000,000 and envisaged the generation from water power of electric current which was to be sold wholesale to towns, cities and so forth. I supported the accusation at that time that the scheme was ill-conceived as presented. I was not at all surprised—I objected to it—when the E.S.B. then, in order to remain economic, came along and confiscated generating plants of local authorities, including the one in Dublin. That was not sufficient to make them economic. They then became the generators and sellers to the public of electric current. The cost as estimated when the original Bill was going through this House has long since been lost sight of and the cost per unit to the community for the electricity supplied to them is far in excess of what was promised. Some people summed up the situation by saying that it was becoming a white elephant. To-day there is a sum in excess of £50,000,000 invested in this State undertaking.

Not being satisfied with generating the current and selling the current, the undertaking now is spreading its wings. It is usurping the rights of any private individual who previously was a contractor. The E.S.B. now contracts to equip your house with all fixtures and fittings in connection with the use of electricity. And they have gone further in their competition against the retail shops which previously sold electrical equipment, gave a living to a certain number of people and, as was said here by other Deputies, brought a certain amount of prosperity to towns. The E.S.B. have now broadened out into selling equipment on the hire-purchase system. As Deputy Collins said and as Deputy Barry said, because of the magnitude now of the operations of the E.S.B., no small enterprise can compete with them either in the price of the product or in the rate of interest charged on the hire-purchase system.

As Deputy Collins pointed out, the E.S.B. are completely flouting the rights of individuals. The public do not know this, and I hope that this part of what I say gets sufficient publicity so that the public will know. When a person buys a commodity, be it an iron or an electric range, under the hire-purchase system or the part-payment system, the E.S.B. have no right to enforce payment by cutting off electric current, because the only reason for which they can cut off current is if the amount due for the current is not paid. But still the E.S.B. are completely careless about the people whom they are supposed to serve.

If this House had under its control through a particular Department of State the operations and the administration of the E.S.B., no such behaviour would be tolerated by the members of this House, but because, under the Acts which set them up and under the amending measures for their control and so forth, their operations are not to be discussed in this House except in so far as they concern policy, these people are riding rough-shod over people and local authorities, and these special Acts of the Dáil are allowing them to put their pylons wherever and whenever they like. Consultation with them is useless because in the end they do what they like.

Coming back to rural electrification, one of the benefits that would accrue to the State was this patchwork of current supply which would be added in the years that succeeded the establishment of the scheme originally known as the Shannon scheme. It is no longer the Shannon scheme because the water-developed current is only a fraction now of the total current generated. It is now known as the E.S.B., and that name covers all their operations and all their sins. They are now fuel-generating by both native and imported fuel. The vast bulk of their current is no longer to be regarded as water-developed. It was proved that if it depended entirely on water power it would be a failure, so the original scheme as conceived has been abandoned.

The proposal to install additional turbines at Shannon could not be implemented and had we depended entirely on water we would have a series of shortages as we had during the war years when we had not sufficient development of current from other means and, in face of the abnormal growth in the use of electricity, had to depend on water-generation entirely. The result was electricity rationing—a ration at such a rate that the charges, which I then discussed, became outrageous for the electricity consumer. I want the Minister and the House at least to let it be known to the E.S.B. and their board of directors that, while they have independence in the internal management and administration, they are under a very great responsibility with regard to policy and that this House can amend their powers if we find that the public, whom this scheme was to benefit, find that in fact it has become irksome and burdensome.

One of the things that emerged in connection with this scheme was the well thought-out and generous support by this House and by the Minister of that day with regard to rural electrification. It is well known that because of the population situation and because of all other comparisons with heavily populated areas like the City of Dublin, electricity, to be economic for use in the country, must bear a very substantial subsidy. That is why this House passed an Act which enabled the expenditure of up to £10,000,000 to subsidise electricity development in the State. That was capital expenditure and the idea was that the work was to be done efficiently and properly. Immediately after the change over of Government in 1948 some of us on this side of the House drew attention to the fact that we believed from what we had seen and heard there was an attempt being made to retard rural electrification by withholding the amount of grants that would be necessary. We were assured by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Morrissey, that there was no such intention—that they were to go ahead with this more rapidly and that they expected better results than had been got under those who had thought out and introduced rural electrification.

Now we have slipped in on us, without any emphasis, the suggestion that a subsidy was no longer necessary. I asked the rural Deputies on all sides of the House if they were going to stand for that. The only Deputy who referred to it was Deputy Collins who appreciated and saw what it meant. Some references were made by Deputy Bartley to this attitude of mind when the change of Government came in 1948. We had a well thought-out and useful transatlantic air service destroyed; we had the chassis factory at Inchicore destroyed; numerous other schemes were destroyed. These have all meant loss of benefits to the community. Their destruction was part and parcel of an election campaign and its aftermath. It was the only part of the promises that could be implemented. It was not construction but destruction.

Now we have the Minister saying he has been giving some thought and has asked for reports on the possibility of creating a transatlantic passenger service. In the name of goodness if we thought that £1,000,000 invested in a transatlantic air service was extravagant, how extravagant can this transatlantic passenger service be? Surely that is not to be put forward as a reasonable undertaking? Deputy Lemass referred to this particular matter in part—this proposal to have our own ships taking passengers across the Atlantic. He had organised a fleet mainly for freight which was of vital necessity. A beginning was made for the establishment of an Irish shipping fleet and fortunately that development was not destroyed and is continuing with satisfaction and with benefit to the security of the State.

I hope the Minister will make clear to the House what he means by ending financial support to rural electrification. I want to know when the Minister intends to bring in the necessary legislation because I hold that he should continue to give the capital subsidy until this House authorises him to stop the present arrangement.

Deputy M.P. Murphy poured ridicule on our air services. He said it was ridiculous to spend money in order to keep our air services in operation. At one period members of the inter-Party Government, particularly when they were so keen on destroying the transatlantic air service, described air services as a plaything for millionaires. Deputy Murphy has softened somewhat since those days. He says air services are used not necessarily by millionaires but by rich people, and such services are not essential, they are not availed of by ordinary people.

The Minister took great pride, and rightly so, in pointing out that Aer Lingus has now reached a situation where, not only has there ceased to be a loss but there is a possibility of a financial surplus on future operations. It is in that connection that I want to raise a point of considerable importance. A very serious development has taken place in Aer Lingus. That body recently acquired a fleet of first class jet planes. No one could find fault with them. From the information at the disposal of the public these planes were designed and constructed to carry 44 passengers. I recently travelled in one of them. These planes have been reconstructed by Aer Lingus and they are now packing into them 53 passengers, like sardines in a tin, and they are experimenting to find out if they can pack in any more.

The Minister is responsible for the safety regulations relative to the running of aeroplanes. When did his Department give sanction for a change in the passenger content of planes? Can he tell the House if that was done with the knowledge, consent and approval of the makers? The Minister talked about the traffic between Dublin and Dun Laoire, the horrible railway carriages, the discomfort to the passengers and the bad impression created generally on the public. I want to tell the Minister that there is nothing more uncomfortable and nothing more unpleasant than to be one of 53 passengers travelling in a plane designed to carry 44 passengers. These planes have bigger windows but, since the alteration in the seating accommodation, nobody can see out through those windows. Neither can one move about the gangway because it is so narrow; indeed, one can barely move through the gangway unless one moves sideways.

It is a very dangerous thing to have overcrowded planes. Overcrowding does not necessarily mean that disaster will follow; but there could be panic. On the plane on which I travelled, for whatever cause, it took at least ten minutes before the door of the plane could be opened on arrival at the airport. The only conclusion I could come to was that the overpacking, plus the air conditioning for higher flight, had some effect on the doors. It was a very unpleasant ten minutes—53 people packed in a plane constructed to carry 44 with a crew of five—with banging going on outside and banging going on inside in an effort to open the door to let the passengers out. If any passenger had thought something was seriously wrong panic could have taken place, causing considerable trouble, worry and upset.

Is this one of the reasons why Aer Lingus is beginning to pay? Is it not possible this may deter people from travelling by air? Certainly one wants some feeling of security when travelling by air. Now, the Dakota, or D.C.3, was constructed originally to carry 21 passengers. What is the D.C.3 carrying to-day? It is carrying 33 passengers.

How long has that been going on?

During the last six months. Have the Douglas people, the manufacturers of these planes, sanctioned an increase in passenger load? One can make Aer Lingus pay all right, but one can overdo making it pay. It is better to have development done on a safe and satisfactory basis rather than to strike a balance between economy versus safety. There is a limit to which one can go in that direction. Even if the question of safety does not arise at all, there is the question of value to the public who pay for these services. I ask the Minister to tell the House if these increases in passenger load have been done with the knowledge, consent and approval of the manufacturers. What other airlines have increased their passenger loads to the same extent in the same machines? It will not be sufficient for the Minister to say that the experts in Aer Lingus have decided it is all right. There are authorities beyond Aer Lingus. We are very young in flying. We have a lot to learn and nobody has any right to take risks.

I mentioned the development of hire-purchase in connection with the E.S.B. I have no fault to find with the charges they make for hire-purchase services but I think the time has come when the Minister should consider legislation to control the hire-purchase system generally. First of all, there is the protection due to the purchaser. In this country there are not sufficient safeguards where a person has purchased an article, possibly paid three-quarters of the cost and finds himself, or herself, unable to meet the remainder. The goods are seized and there is no equity left for the purchaser of the goods. In the United States of America there is legislation in relation to hire purchase. If an article is claimed back by the firm it has to be sold under certain conditions; if it realises more than the amount due, the excess becomes the property of the person from whom the goods were seized.

Secondly, I believe there should be some control of the rates charged for hire-purchase services. Young people take on the burden of buying a house on hire-purchase, buying all the equipment they need and, finally, possibly even the clothes they wear, with the result that they may find themselves in the position that they have not sufficient to spend on food. They may not have left over sufficient to feed themselves and their young families. There should be some control of the development and advent of this particular business so that the evils which can arise from it will be prevented.

I suggest to the Minister that the time has come when his Department should look into this matter and bring to the House modern legislation to deal with the whole system of hire-purchase and see whether it is good for our economy. In some countries it is thought that the more easy you make it for people to buy goods, even if they have not the ready money, the greater is the contribution to the prosperity of your State. In other countries, of course, it is realised that if a big percentage of purchases are made on this basis your economy can get very badly shaken up because a slight deterioration in employment can bring about a collapse, if you like, of many institutions depending on this type of business. However, I am not sufficiently informed in all the details of this particular business, but I feel genuinely, and I have felt for many years, that legislation is overdue in order to protect purchasers under this particular system.

There was nothing in the Minister's statement—other Deputies have referred to this particular matter—in connection with unemployment, except that there was an admission from the Minister—another matter which I will deal with later—but no statement was given to us pointing out how this new inter-Party Government or Coalition Government had at last solved this question of unemployment. It was to be solved in 1948 in 24 hours, and we had Deputy Murphy to-day calling for an immediate end to unemployment and for full employment in a matter of —he began to be hesitant here and made three or four——

What about your Party promising to do away with it in a matter of hours, from 1932 onwards?

We can talk of more recent promises. The promises were made that unemployment could be abolished almost immediately and that full employment could be made available. Now the inter-Party Government realise that that is not so easy. Neither do they talk about emigration although emigration was going to be stopped. Emigration to-day is greater than it ever was. We have a new type of emigration taking place in the last few weeks. We have a trade dispute, unfortunately, which has put out of employment a considerable number of people including as a result of the dispute the limited number of skilled workmen we have in this country. I am reliably informed that these skilled workmen are leaving Dublin at the rate of 60 per day and that a good many of them are taking up guaranteed employment in England for periods of five, and up to ten, years. If the dispute is not settled very soon we will find that our housing development will be seriously retarded because of the lack of sufficient skilled men. A certain number may come back but, again, the dispute will cause such a shortage in skilled workmen that it will result in a slowing down of housing, and doubtlessly, in an increase in the costs.

Is not that the fault of the Labour Court when they did not settle it and give the men what they want?

I am not attaching any blame to anybody. I do not say that either the men or the Labour Court are to blame. I say there is a dispute and that every step should be taken to see that that dispute is ended immediately because of the consequences which will flow from it.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce admitted quite frankly in introducing his Estimate that it was found that the cost of living could not be reduced. Deputy James Larkin speaking on another occasion also pointed out that while promises were made to reduce the cost of living it was now found that it could not be done and that, in fact, the cost of living was still increasing. He pointed out that as a result of that we will have a series of demands, a series of upsets for further increases in order that the standard of the workmen should be maintained in the position in which it was, or improved, but certainly not disimproved.

The public now know that the cost of living is mainly a matter beyond the control of any Government unless we want to get back to a system we had in the emergency of rationing and subsidies. If we want to have free rights for the people to buy what they like when they like, they must pay whatever the price is at that time unless the commodities are rationed and subsidised.

The cost of living instead of going down has gone up—how much it has gone up since the last two points increase I do not know because the figure has not been given yet, though it may be given any moment—but there is an end now to that nonsensical talk and abuse of political opponents. We do not hear certain people now saying that the position has not improved. We do not hear speakers from the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Benches now talking about people living on starvation diet because of the cost of living. They have suddenly forgotten about that, or is it more proper to say that that idea that they were trying to spread of absolute destitution does not in fact exist and did not exist?

I subscribe to the view, as the Fianna Fáil policy lays down, that we must do all we can constantly to improve the standard of living of all our people. We do not stand, and we never have stood, for a certain standard beyond which we do not want the people to go.

You did say that.

After all the Fianna Fáil Government did in its first 16 years of office to bring about industrial development, to bring about the possibility of good employment with good wages, with all the legislation it brought in to benefit the working man, to have it said that Fianna Fáil was the Party that was against the worker, against increasing——

The standstill Order was against them. It kept their wages down.

Yes, there was a standstill Order in respect of wages, but there was also a standstill in the increases in prices. Of course, that is not referred to. Because of the standstill in the increase in prices of essential foodstuffs the cost of subsidies went into many millions of pounds, in fact, so many millions that we are still paying them in the flour subsidy. However, I have not heard the Minister hold out any hope in his Estimate speech that we can look forward in the near future to the end of unemployment or the end of emigration. Both of those things are going on and going on more rapidly than was the case even in the worst years, if you like, of our experience in our term of office.

I remember, when Fianna Fáil introduced the idea of using native fuel, the late Deputy Hugo Flinn being pilloried in this House and made a joke of because it was his responsibility to try to set up the first collection and distribution of native hand-won turf, there were jokes about the lorries that carried them, and so on. From that beginning Bord na Móna developed. Now Bord na Móna is such a successful undertaking, doing such good work, giving such good value in fuel, giving such good employment, that all we hear now is: "Can they not do more?" and not one speaker of the Coalition Government has the courage to get up and say: "At least that was a good idea by Fianna Fáil."

Deputy Hugo Flinn's policy was three days a week. We all remember that.

I am speaking about the beginning of the development of turf utilisation and about the stage it has reached now. I say I do not hear people ridiculing Bord na Móna now. I do not hear them laughing and joking about it. All I hear them saying now is: "Can we not get more of the product of Bord na Móna? Can we not get more bogs into operation? Can we not get greater employment through Bord na Móna?" That is something of which Fianna Fáil can be proud.

There is another organisation in our midst known as C.I.E. As a Dublin Deputy I want to say that it is quite clear from the annual returns that that company makes a very substantial profit on the bus services in the City of Dublin and that those profits go to subsidise the loss on the railways. Now I am not finding fault with that, but C.I.E. should be told by the Minister that the housing development policy has resulted in a considerable number of former tenant dwellers in the centre of the City of Dublin having had to be moved to the outskirts of the city, but that workmen still have to go to and from their work and children have to go to school. The local authority, the Dublin Corporation, has been requesting C.I.E. for many months to introduce a system whereby the workingman could have a cheaper rate of travel than the ordinary, casual person, to issue a book of tickets or something of that kind to a workingman so that his cost of transport to and from his job would be somewhat lighter than it is and so that he would not have to subsidise, out of his earnings, the losses on the railways. The same applies to the child going to school. There should be some cheap rate ticket for children of parents who have been moved from the centre of the city to a far distant area.

That is administration over which the Minister has no control.

It is policy.

No. It is administration.

One of the great faults here is that we, so to speak, subscribe money from this House by way of subsidies and grants to undertakings and then we say we have nothing further to do with them. I tried very much to keep to policy. I am not going into the number of buses they run on a particular line, the frequency with which they travel or the rates they go at. The Minister has responsibility for the profit and loss——

The Minister has no responsibility for that administration.

But he is responsible if there is a loss. He made reference to it in his speech on this Estimate. He felt there was no need to make any provision in the Estimate to make up a deficiency in operations of C.I.E. I say that is preventing C.I.E. from making the reduction to which I refer because it might cause a deficiency which the Government would have to make up. I am asking the Minister to see, when he is discussing this matter with C.I.E., if it can be done even if it does mean the continuance for a while longer of an ever-decreasing subsidy.

Deputy Lynch—I am sorry he is not here—took great exception, when he intervened in this debate, to the fact that in the development of our tourist trade the first place to which the visitors came in the greatest numbers was the City of Dublin. They landed here with their motor-cars or came in on the planes and remained too long in the City of Dublin, spent too much money here and did not get down to Tramore quickly enough. He suggested that tourists should be met on arrival, taken under control and, as I visualise it, conducted around Ireland as we are led to believe visitors are conducted when they visit behind the Iron Curtain. In other words, the tourists were to see only that which we chose to show them and not to be given the freedom of roaming around.

The development of tourism is also something that had been looked on with great disrespect in years not very far distant. I remember the advocacy to the public: "Do not support Fianna Fáil because they want to spend money on bringing tourists to this country to take away your bread and butter or your bit of meat."

That was only during the rationing.

There is always an excuse. We all realise that the tourist trade is one of our most valuable items of invisible exports and that every-sidise thing should be done to continue its development and, as a result, the benefits that accrue to the country and everything in it from the tourist trade.

I do not intend to deal with everything that has been said about decentralisation of industry. I think that for many years everything that could be done has been done to encourage industrialists to establish industries away from centralised areas. The fact that facilities have not been availed of under the Undeveloped Areas Act proves only this, that unless it is a State-run organisation which can meet its losses by a vote which can establish such industries, it cannot be expected that private investors will take the risk of not making their concerns prosperous or making them dangerous by going into areas where they will become uneconomic.

We should do everything possible to help new industries to be started. We should help those undeveloped areas even if some assistance has to be given. With regard to what has been said here, I do not think any Minister for Industry and Commerce can direct or force any industrialist or any group of industrialists to plank their industry anywhere that may be directed by him or by any Department; it is a matter of freedom.

Some time ago I mentioned I thought there was a possibility of an industry for the western seaboard. I do not know what view would be taken of it by, say, the Labour Party, but I believe there is the possibility of a proper development of a cottage industry manufacturing souvenirs. Many people have pointed out to some of us that when visitors come to Shannon or Collinstown and want to buy a souvenir of Ireland—something particularly Irish in its appearance— they find that stamped on the bottom of the souvenir is "Made in Japan", or "Made in Czechoslovakia" or "Made in Germany".

I feel the time has come when we should keep out those imported souvenirs or, if you like, prohibit their importation altogether so that only souvenirs made in this country will be sold in this country. They may be slightly dearer, but I do not think that that will prove an obstacle. I have observed both at Shannon and at Collinstown that visitors who are departing and who wish to bring some token of Ireland back to their friends in their own country never quibble about an extra 1/-, 2/- or 3/-. At a time like that, their feelings do not control them in regard to the amount they will spend. I would ask the Minister to investigate the possibility of a handmade souvenir industry on the lines of a cottage industry which may be of some value in the western area.

During the election of 1948 and the election of 1954 the following took place in my constituency where the mainstay of the working side of C.I.E., the Inchicore works, is located. On the eve of every election there is hurriedly disseminated amongst the poor unfortunate people who believe it—some of them workers at these Inchicore works —the rumour that if Fianna Fáil are returned to office the works will close down; that there will be instant dismissals; that Fianna Fáil will stop all the construction, and so forth. Some people believed it twice. The Coalition Government are now back in office. I should like the Minister to explain why it is that, though there is rather heavy redundancy and dismissals are taking place, there is no outcry from the gentlemen who spoke of such a situation arising if Fianna Fáil were returned to office.

Am I to take it that if dismissals were to take place or redundancy to occur under a Fianna Fáil Government it is wrong, but that if that happens under a Coalition Government it is right, proper and correct and that nobody should have a grouse about it? I should like the Minister to assure the House that this sudden development of prosperity and of operating without a deficit on the railways is not being done too rapidly at the cost of the employment of some of the workers.

I spoke before about air services, particularly in relation to Aer Lingus and its operations. In my view, the time has come when the Minister's Department might look into the possibility of extending air services within the country by the adoption of helicopters. Recently I have been reading quite a lot about helicopters, both as operated in the States and elsewhere. I believe that a helicopter service between, say, Cork and Dublin, Shannon and Dublin, Galway and Dublin, and so forth, would be very useful.

You do not need these modern airfields. You do not need large passenger loads. The operating costs are very low. Certainly it would eliminate some of the tiring experiences I have had, in common with many visitors. The visitor flies in a most modern, up-to-date plane from, say, Boston, New York or Toronto and lands at Shannon. Having landed at Shannon after a journey of 12½ or 13 hours, what happens? Our Ceann Comhairle has, I think, considerable experience in flying in the type of plane I have in mind. What happens when the passenger lands at Shannon? He cannot get to Dublin. He has missed a particular plane that might have been there that day at 2 o'clock in the afternoon so he gets either a taxi or a bus to Limerick. He puts up for the night there or he gets a late night train or an early morning train to bring him to Dublin. It takes him twice as long to go from Shannon to Dublin as it took him to come from America to Ireland. I have been worried and concerned because friends of mine, rather than go through that tedious and tiring operation, ordered taxis to wait for them and the cost of the taxis from Shannon to Dublin was not too easy on them.

I suggest the time has come when some serious examination should be made into the possibility of the provision of a helicopter service operated, if you like, by the existing air service or by somebody else. I am not an expert but, from what I have read, I understand that helicopters are regarded as very safe and cheap to run. American visitors or even ourselves when we land at Shannon and want to go elsewhere can get to and from places at the speed we desire and even at the speed that Deputy Murphy objects to; he objects to travelling speedily.

The Minister drew the attention of the House to his dissatisfaction with the service between Dublin and Dún Laoghaire, and quite rightly so. I wonder if he can say whether he has any information as to when it is hoped to get rid of the present horrible service to which he refers and to replace it by something more pleasant both for the people to travel in and also for people to look at.

I do not intend to deal with the contributions made by Deputy Kyne and Deputy MacBride to this debate except to say that I found there was quite a lot of theory with little close association with what one might call practicability. It is all right to give a list of six points, as Deputy MacBride did. "Export of finished goods from Ireland." You cannot start industries here with the idea that they will be economic and profitable if they can command a substantial export market.

The outside world has its ups and downs: it has its changes. We have a very simple illustration of that to-day. Take, for example, our tanneries. Our tanneries are suffering not so much because other materials are being used for soleing in the boot and shoe industry as because the world market has deteriorated. Recently I have seen references in magazines to the tannery firms in Britain getting together and arranging to have joint advertisements in the papers. One of these advertisements appeared recently with the slogan "Leather is Still the Best." Our tanneries would suffer. Other industries, if they were on that basis, would suffer and they would be beyond the control of any Minister. It is suggested that he could just put on his hat and go across to another country and tell them that if they do not take this or that he will just let them know what we are going to do with them. We ought to try to develop our industries on the basis of our national needs and only if there is something special, something attractive or something unique in this country, would we have development possibilities for an export market.

Deputy MacBride's second point was that we could build an industry if we had sufficient timber and that everything should be done now in afforestation. The Minister knows that even if he decided that to do so was a good idea, we would have to wait 40 years before the trees grew up to use them in native industry. That is the way we are talking about afforestation and clipping and so on for that type of timber. That is one of the fantasies that entered into the realm of politics on the birth of Clann na Poblachta. I remember they thought and believed you could grow such a sufficiency of trees that you could stop importing petrol as there would be enough timber over to make wood alcohol and have the petrol at home. All that has gone.

The Deputy talked about trade and dual pricing. I am afraid that can only be dealt with on the basis of agreements between nation and nation. Every nation wants to try to support its own industries. In the case of coal, we are a Republic outside the British Commonwealth of Nations and we are regarded by Britain as being a foreign country for the purpose of her exports of coal; and in common with other countries we have to pay a higher price for coal than that at which it is sold to the consumers in England. But that is her right. We could say to-morrow if we liked that we could do things like that. The Minister could say: "I am going to insist that bacon at home is to be sold at such and such a price, while anyone who wants it abroad will have to pay more for it." Whether it would be good to do it or not would be another matter, but it would be our right to do these things. In the same way, in the steel industry the steel manufacturers in England do not want to see competition growing up in another country and killing their own native industries. We must try to develop our industries, getting our raw materials from countries that are in competition with each other and try to get them at the cheapest possible price. There are also currency difficulties which interfere with the freedom of activity of nations in world trade.

The Deputy's number four point was interest. Deputy MacBride said here in the course of his speech that one of the great contributions towards industrial development would be the cutting down of the rate of interest. To an industrialist, as the Minister knows, if he gets his money from an investor who expects 6 per cent. by way of a preference share or a debenture it does not make any difference whether he has to pay that interest by way of a dividend to the investor or 5 per cent. to the bank. The trouble the industrialist has is that he just cannot get enough money. Supposing he has to pay 5 per cent. for the money he borrows for use in his industry rather than have speculators or investors with him who will take the ups and downs, he would rather have it, but it does not mean that there is 5 per cent. put on the cost of production of the article sold.

The Minister probably knows quite well—he does not need me to tell him, but I am just saying it for the purpose of answering Deputy MacBride— that if that manufacturer, using his borrowed money in his business turns it over, as he likely does, six times in the year, the actual interest charge is one-sixth of 5 per cent. In some cases the turnover is even more rapid and in some cases slower, but you will find that in the industries where the turnover of capital is slower the rate of profit is less and the capital available is more, with the result that they do not need so much borrowed money. However, it does not make a particle of difference. The most attractive way to get money into industry is to have an industry that will pay a reasonable return on the invested money without making the goods too dear to the public, giving good value and giving them at a fair price.

I argued before, when I was on that side of the House, when there was talk about racketeering and excess profit-taking amongst manufacturers, that when you took off the nett skimmed milk of profit accruing to the owners of the business, you found that if you took it from them and tried to give it to the consumer by way of a reduction in the commodity he bought, it would not make a decimal point of a fraction difference. I am not referring to buying and selling: I am referring purely to the industrialist who is producing or manufacturing. It may be just to discuss an interest charge on State borrowing, on local authority borrowing for the purpose of creating housing or some such necessity. But the Deputy went on and his fifth point was a reference to risk capital. If it is believed that people who have money for investment in business are expected to risk it without any element of hope of getting something for it, then we are going to end investment in what you might call speculative enterprises—and all enterprises are speculative.

He says that we have no industrial tradition or experience. I think that Ireland, since it became established as a State—this part of Ireland—has shown to itself and to the world that, whether you regard it as tradition or experience, we have been able to build and develop marvellously in the short period of years of our existence as an independent State. I remember, and a lot of people here remember, when we were dependent practically upon the outside world for nearly everything we wore or we consumed or we used. To-day we are manufacturing all our own furniture and our own clothing. I think we are reaching the stage soon where practically all our own needs will be met by our own cloth. To-day nobody says it is not as good as Worcester or something else; to-day people admit that the clothing industry here is as good as it can be expected to be by comparison with anywhere and that the producers are giving a first-class article to the public.

We have shown that, whether we have a tradition or not in industry and whether we have experience or not in industry, the Irish people are capable of being organised to produce most of the articles that we require, as good as can be expected and as competitive as can be expected. There was a time when some of the public were opposed to the supporting of Irish industry. We have now passed the stage when we have to advertise "Buy Irish". I do not see that any more anywhere, because everybody now buys Irish of his own will, not because it is considered a patriotic duty to walk around in Gaeltacht tweeds to show we are buying Irish. We can get a lot of theory, but it requires just practical application.

I believe the Minister has changed his whole approach to industrialists and industrial development and I believe that he will carry on, in that particular branch anyway, the line laid down by his predecessor in office. We all want to see industrial development, with good employment and the best wages and conditions possible. We can try to improve these things from time to time.

I hope that the admission now is full and final, that unemployment is a problem common to all of us which will take some considerable time to solve, that full employment is not something which can be provided by a wave of the wand or which is immediately on the horizon, and similarly that emigration is something which confronts all of us and that the best combined efforts will have to be made to deal with it. It must no longer be a matter of suggesting that unemployment and emigration are the children of a particular political Party. It belongs to us all and we have all to do something about it. We must try to grapple with it in the best way possible and not seek to mislead the public as they were misled.

As I said before, I should like the Minister to tell us the latest cost-of-living figure. Has it gone up? Is it still going up? Has it been arrested or can it be arrested in the see-saw of world conditions? If there is a threat of international hostilities and if things look bad, there will be a sudden increase in the price of certain commodities; if it looks as if peace is going to break out and we are going to have a considerable period of peace, commodities will become more readily available and possibly at cheaper prices because the competition will be greater.

I have dealt with a number of matters to which I hope the Minister will reply. The first and most important is the reference he made to the stopping of this capital grant to the E.S.B.; the second is the policy by which profits are now being made from the discomfort of passengers, with possible danger of overloading, on our 'planes; the third, the general policy of the E.S.B. in relation to the public; and, finally, the matter of C.I.E.

The Minister has so many activities under this Vote that I will touch on only a few. I am particularly interested in the Undeveloped Areas Act because that Act was one of the greatest blessings the Fianna Fáil Government conferred on these areas. In my own constituency a new industry will start quite soon. The factory is being built and it will provide employment for 20 persons and possibly 70 persons. Without that industry, the young men who will be employed in this tannery would certainly have emigrated, and were it not for the fact that Fóras Tionscal came in there to help with the funds, that industry could not have been started on the basis of either private capital or local contribution. I notice that the Estimate for grants under that Act is down this year and I hope that does not mean that if worthwhile projects come before the Minister, he will not deal sympathetically with them. I feel that he is interested in stemming emigration and that if other areas put up projects to him, he will consider them as sympathetically as did the previous Minister.

There are various psychological facts connected with emigration, one of which is that men and women are socially inclined and like to be with people of their own ages, with whom they can talk over the different problems affecting them and that is why so many of these boys and girls emigrate to England where they go into factories. They have the feeling that they are with young people, but when they are in these remote rural areas they do not meet others of their own age unless they go to dances and so on. There will always be people who prefer to work on their own. I should be the last to do anything to damage the agricultural industry, which is our largest industry, and there will always be people who like to work on the land and who will go on working on it, just as there will always be craftsmen who prefer to work in their own homes; but there are others who like to live in communities and to work in communities and factories in these undeveloped areas do solve that problem.

It is very important, therefore, that they should be encouraged in every way possible, because I am quite certain that the factory which is shortly to be opened in my constituency will be of great benefit in keeping these young people and especially the girls in the country. They constitute a difficult problem because there are not many industries started for them, but they have exactly the same ideas as the men. They like to be with other girls and that is why, when they emigrate, they go into factories. Sometimes they take up nursing in hospitals, but, though they have a vocation for nursing, they also have a liking for the community life and being with others of their own age.

With regard to C.I.E., the travel facilities now provided are very much improved. The diesel trains are very comfortable and the restaurant arrangements are very good in them, but there is one thing that could be improved, both from the tourist point of view and from the point of view of our own people travelling up and down the country, that is, the accommodation and general decoration of the waiting rooms. The Minister will agree that airports spend a lot of time and money on making waiting rooms attractive. They are gay with bright paint and pictures and comfortable seating. It must be realised that some people have to wait two and three hours for a train and they have to sit in these very gloomy waiting rooms with pictures around the walls— G.N.R., G.S.R. and the Midland Great Western Railway—which have been there for, I suppose, 50 years. They are very unattractive to look at and do not advertise the places they are supposed to advertise, and they are certainly not Irish resorts. When C.I.E. has done so much to improve travel, it would be a good idea if they turned their attention to that aspect of travelling.

I want to say a few words about tourism because, I suppose, coming from the premier tourist county of Kerry, I know that the tourist industry affects the people of that county very much. I think that industry has developed very satisfactorily over the past few years. It is very encouraging, if, when one meets tourists and asks them if they enjoyed their stay, they reply: "We enjoyed it so much two or three years ago that we have come back again". That is the best advertisement for hotels and for the tourist industry in this country. We want more tourists. We certainly like to hear of their coming back, because it means they have come back with their families, and the members of those families who have, as children, spent holidays in our resorts will probably come back when, in due course, they are married.

I agree with Deputy Collins about films. I think that far more could be done by the Tourist Board in advertising the attractions of Ireland as a tourist resort, if more attention was paid to films. Films can be shown in cinemas in various countries because, if they are travel films, the commentary can be in different languages. The films themselves cannot get out of date, because the scenery stays much the same from year to year. If they were attractively got up—and to start with, the initial cost may be a bit—I think we could develop the tourist industry to a greater degree. This development would be greater if we could send the films to other countries—I mean to the continent as well, because I do not think we are developing that side of advertising tourism as much as we should. A person who goes to see the main film will stay to see the feature film because he has paid a bit for his entertainment. He will stay and watch the feature film, whereas he might not even bother to read a word of ordinary tourist literature.

There is another development which I think is very good—the youth hostels. I know that the Minister has not got a direct connection with them, but I am very glad to see that youth hostels are being encouraged, because they do bring in the foreign tourist. Certainly the ones in Killarney are very often three-quarters full of people from the Continent. I think the hotels have realised that those young people would not be able to pay hotel expenses, but that they can go to these hostels and see the country in a way they would not have been able to if these hostels had not existed.

There is one more point I would like to bring before the Minister, and that is An Tóstal. I have always been in favour of An Tóstal because it is a very good way of advertising the country. I think it brings out a lot of the natural talent for organisation which exists, and which would never have been discovered in any other way. An Tóstal councils, as I know them, consist mostly of people who give their time voluntarily to the work of organising. They get no monetary reward, they do not run hotels or shops, they are just interested in the working of An Tóstal. Risks have to be taken because, in organising pageants of this kind, there is no possibility of getting any money from the public, with the result that, quite often An Tóstal councils, at the end of the An Tóstal period, find themselves in very low water. They have to run the inevitable dances to try and get money back, and they start off the new Tóstal with a debt, and get depressed.

I think that is one of the reasons why there are not so many An Tóstal councils this year. When the Tóstal season is over and if there are Tóstal councils who are in debt, I hope the Minister will deal sympathetically with their requests to get them straight again before the next one comes along, because these people, who have given their services voluntarily, have worked pretty hard to make An Tóstal a success. That is why I ask the Minister to deal sympathetically with their requests.

I shall be very brief. I appreciate what the Minister has been doing in regard to the development of turf-generating stations, and I am glad to know that he is carrying out the work initiated by the previous Government. Recently, I had a question down in regard to another important scheme in my constituency, the Comeragh hydro-electric scheme in Kerry. I am not at all satisfied with the replies, because some months ago, when I tabled a similar question, I was informed that the matter was under consideration, and that the question of the fisheries was being considered.

I understood when that scheme was being put through by the E.S.B. and large sums of money were being expended a year or two ago, that this question of the fisheries had been dealt with at that time. Dr. Went, an eminent authority, was consulted by the then Government to report back to the E.S.B. what gains there could be to the tourist industry or to this question of the fisheries. Surely it is late enough that I should be told this matter is still under consideration. I beg to know, once and for all, will the Minister stand for that kind of thing? It is well known by the people in that area that vested interests intervened. When the Attorney-General of the present Government was down there on holiday he was approached and asked to use his influence on the Government to shelve this scheme.

That is not true, Deputy. In order to get the position clear, the investigations which have been proceeding for some time were on the direction of my predecessor who gave guarantees locally, not me. You are completely wrong in what you are now saying.

I went into the E.S.B. offices, got the data, consulted Dr. Went, and went back and held a public meeting. I ignored these vested interests and challenged——

No vested interests approached me. They may have approached my predecessor.

I apologise to the Minister if he took it that way. I said that the vested interests approached the Attorney-General when he was down on holidays.

The Attorney-General has nothing to do with it.

He was asked to consult the Government.

The need to consult the Government did not arise and will not arise until the reply is received from the E.S.B, I did not appoint the directors of the E.S.B. either.

I have nothing to do with that. I am not making that point at all. I am confident that the Minister will not stand for that kind of thing. I said that and I believe it. I know from what the Minister has done in regard to the turf-generating stations that it is his intention to go on with the work of development and see there is an improvement in everything so far as his Department is concerned. I give him full credit for that.

I mentioned before that it looked to me as if the Department had abandoned this matter of exploring the possibilities of mineral development in the country. Years ago the Department had a scheme whereby they allocated grants for experimental work. They allocated money for borings and so forth. As far as I am aware, that is now abandoned. If that scheme could be resumed we would be on the right lines. We could at least use the modern methods of testing the different types of mineral. I believe that type of work could be undertaken. The local people could be asked, as they are asked under the undeveloped areas scheme, to put up money for the development in their own districts of different schemes.

I am anxious to make one other point. We have a development committee in a small town in my district— Killorglin, in the County Kerry. The development committee are sponsoring a scheme which will employ a number of boys and girls. A deputation will come before the Minister in the near future. Killorglin is the one town in Kerry where there is no industry of any description and where there is no hope of absorbing the unemployed or the people who may wish to emigrate. It is one of the districts from which there is considerable emigration. We will approach the Minister in a month's time in connection with the scheme I mentioned. I know the matter is not a direct concern of his, but a word of encouragement from him to the board in control would assist us very much. I appreciate all that is being done in regard to the turf-generating station at Cahirciveen, and I appreciate the money provided by the Department of Local Government for the improvement of the roads.

The diffidence of the Minister in his very brief reference to the control of profits and prices in his opening statement is certainly very extraordinary having regard to the eloquent orations—one might describe them as diatribes—to which the previous Administration were treated on occasions of this nature year in, year out, but particularly in the past few years by the present Tánaiste. One can understand the reluctance of the Tánaiste to refer to this question.

In the first place, it is quite true, as he says, that it was debated for some length in the House not so very long ago. But as it is one of the burning problems, in fact, the greatest problem, which is agitating the minds of the public at the present time—one with which all Deputies no matter what Party allegiance they hold must be seriously concerned—it is certainly extraordinary that the Minister has not had more to say about it.

Presumably the legislation which is in prospect in connection with the amendment of the Prices Advisory Body to which the Minister referred is in the same biological category as those large mammals which take a prolonged period of gestation— sometimes years—before they produce their young. We had experience of the Minister's dilatoriness in the past in producing some of these schemes to which he was so much attached and to which a great deal of public attention was given. We now find, in spite of his experience as a Minister over a period of years previously and having the special knowledge of social problems and of this whole question of prices, that he is not in a position to say what the nature of the amendments which he is contemplating is likely to be. He has not come to final decisions in regard to them. It seems extraordinary with the experience that that body has had and the knowledge that the Minister and the Party to which he belongs in particular have of this whole problem that he is not in a position to make a more definite statement of his intentions.

After the last general election, when the present Government took office, a statement was published the second point of which said:—

"Recognising that the main issue in the general election was the question of prices, the Parties forming the Government are determined to reduce the cost of living in relation to the people's income and in particular to effect a reduction in the prices of essential foodstuffs. As an earnest of their intentions in this respect it is proposed to reduce the price of butter in the near future. A detailed announcement of the Government's proposals will be made in the course of the next fortnight. The examination of the prices of other commodities will be undertaken with a view to effecting their reduction at the earliest opportunity. The Prices Advisory Tribunal will be maintained and the investigation and control of prices will be operated in the interests of the consumers."

If the Minister is reluctant or diffident to deal with this thorny question we can appreciate and understand his feelings. They, apparently, are not shared by some of the responsible leaders in the trade union movement outside who have been calling attention to the Government's remissness in this matter and in no uncertain terms. The president of one of the most important, if not the most important Irish trade union, speaking recently at Castlecomer, said he was disappointed at the Government's handling of the prices situation. He did not think they had done all they could have done in trying to hold prices down and in effecting reductions in the prices of essential commodities. He referred in particular to increases in the price of meat and other foodstuffs.

This trade union leader, who has called attention to this matter on more than one occasion since the present Government took office, had probably in mind that in recent months there had been increases of from 1¾d. to 3d. per lb. in the case of mutton and from 3d. to 4¾d. per lb. in the case of beef.

The cost-of-living index figure shows mounting increases between mid-November and mid-February. As has already been pointed out, the increases include those in respect of beef and mutton and in respect of a wide range of vegetables, coffee, cocoa, fruit and so on, to refer only to foodstuffs without reference to articles of household necessity, rent, rates and the cost of services. In regard to the increases that have taken place in food prices there is scarcely the least doubt—any housewife who is consulted will confirm my view—that the quality of the foodstuffs which have to be purchased at these increased prices is not at all up to the quality to which we were accustomed in former years.

The Minister has made play with the decrease that has been effected by the Government in the price of butter but the official statement issued by the Statistics Branch in March dealing with the mid-February cost-of-living index figure showed that not alone has there been an increase since the preceding February but that in respect of the single commodity, beef, the rise of .66 of a point more than counterbalances the decrease in the price of butter which, as far as I remember from an answer to a Dáil question to the Taoiseach, represented .58 of a point.

Beef, of course, was not the only commodity. Potatoes, between mid-November and February, increased, corrected for seasonality, by .4 of a point; mutton by .15 of a point. Clothing, fuel and light and sundries were responsible for certain increases. The result was that, as compared with mid-August, 1953, food stood at 101.5, clothing at 100, fuel and light at 100.6, housing at 105 and sundries at 100.7.

As I have said, the official statistics can scarcely give us a picture of the circumstances of individual families, particularly working-class families, represented by the increases that have taken place. Nobody is more aware of the circumstances of these families than the trade union leaders, who are in daily touch with them and who have found it necessary to refer to the Government's failure to carry out their promises to deal with the price situation particularly in regard to foodstuffs.

Another trade union leader made the point that, unless there was real control of prices, all wage adjustments were futile, that the prices of essential commodities were by far the most important factor in the workman's life, that it was not enough to secure certain wage standards, it was more important to see that they were not nullified by having wage values reduced by rising costs. I have no doubt that the secretary of the Irish Seamen's and Port Workers' Union, if he is not conversant with the actual figures of depreciation, had in mind the fact that the mid-August last year £ was equivalent to 8/7 in August 1938.

Another trade union leader refers to the failure of the Government to make any progress towards ridding the country of the twin evils of unemployment and high prices of consumer goods, all the more deplorable by reason of the fact that Labour plays a prominent part in the present Administration. That is the Government that came back, pledged to operate forthwith policies and plans, guaranteeing full employment and reduced cost of living. Such is the opinion of the secretary of the hotels and restaurants branch of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. He had, doubtless, in mind the statement of one member of the present Administration that not only were the Labour Party committing themselves to securing a reduction of taxation on all commodities but had pledged themselves to bring them to the same level, or as nearly as possible to the level at which they stood in 1952.

Can the Tánaiste deny that it was on the strength of promises that he had categorically made not only to reduce the prices of essential foodstuffs but in fact to reduce the price of tobacco, cigarettes, beer, spirits and to exercise strict control of prices—that it was as a result of these promises made in Irish working-class constituencies and to Irish workers throughout the country, that he holds his present position? We have now the position that the Government, and particularly the Labour Ministers, are trying to slide out of their commitments and out of those solemn promises which they made to the electorate and as a result of which, as I have said previously, they probably came into office. It is as a result of these promises that these Ministers hold their posts. Recently we had a statement made by the Taoiseach that his Party had never given these promises. He said: "We gave no undertaking that whatever happened there would be no increases in prices."

He went on to explain at, I think, the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis, that the Government were fully conscious of the limits of the power of the Government to regulate prices, particularly when increases were due to world economic forces or conditions beyond their control. There were very few of these qualifications when the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste were on this side of the House. The statement to which I have just referred was re-echoed by the Tánaiste in the debate on the Supplies and Services Bill, at column 987, Volume 148, No. 6, of the Official Report, when he said:—

"The base catcalls of the market place and the shallow reasoning of minds skilled only in economic quackery will not tire or dismay this Government or prevent its doing its best in the matter of price reduction."

Whether that applies to the critics of the Government or to the speeches I have just quoted from the ranks of the trade unions or to that of the leader of the unions, I do not know. Is it to these the Tánaiste is referring when he talks about "the base catcalls of the market place and the shallow reasoning of minds skilled only in economic quackery"?

On that occasion also the Tánaiste went on to say:—

"If through pressure of world conditions, if through inflationary tendencies elsewhere, or if through deficiencies in our own economic fabric we find it is not possible to do it, I for one will not have the slightest hesitation——"

So the Tánaiste is beginning to make excuses. He is beginning to find reasons in the course of events outside this country, in inflationary tendencies and so on, for the fact that it may not be possible to reduce prices as he had solemnly undertaken to do.

He goes on, and his colleague, the Minister for Social Welfare, Deputy Corish, supports him, when he says:—

"If our efforts to stabilise or to reduce prices are not successful we will not have the slightest hesitation in saying so."

To stabilise and to reduce prices. There is very little about stabilisation now, though it may have been frequently pointed out over a period of years, as it was again pointed out here to-day, that we had comparative stabilisation of prices and that in order to maintain that stabilisation we introduced a system of food subsidies, which the Tánaiste attacked on that occasion. They represented, I think, a figure of substantially the same amount, I should say, as we have in the present Estimates—a sum of £10,000,000. The Tánaiste said then that they represented merely a sham reduction, which was of very little use for the people.

Now the Tánaiste has changed completely and he is the advocate and the main prop of the policy of food subsidies. The food subsidies to which he referred in his opening statement, and which, on the Industry and Commerce Vote show an amount of £1,000,000, may give a false impression to the public, and I think the Chair will permit me to call attention to it. The figure of £7,000,000 in this Estimate does not, of course, represent the entire cost of food subsidies to the Exchequer or to the taxpayer. We have in another Vote a sum of £2.2 million in respect of dairy production and we have the tea subsidy, which I take it the Tánaiste is responsible for, which costs about £1,250,000, so that there is a total expenditure of about £10,500,000 on subsidies.

The Tánaiste, who attacked food subsidies and described them as ludicrous, worthless, and almost an insult to the working people when they were introduced, is now in the position that he and his colleagues are asking the Irish taxpayers to bear the cost of some £10,500,000, in so far as we can read the figures. I have no doubt that if the Tánaiste has his way the subsidies will be substantially greater before we see the end of the present financial year, and one is inclined to ask the Government whether, if we have £10,500,000 to spend, the present system of food subsidies is the very best way in which we can come to the assistance of the working people and the poorer sections of the community.

Tea, for example, cannot be described as a food at all. Perhaps that is one of the reasons which account for the devious way in which it is put. The Tánaiste, when dealing with this question of subsidies and pointing to a particular reduction in regard to flour, referred to the reduction in the price of Irish wheat and he mentioned that it is still in excess of imported wheat.

The Irish wheat-growing farmers, and I dare say a great number of farmers who are not wheat growers, and a large number of others would naturally be inclined to ask if the test of an Irish industry is going to be whether it can produce at the same price as that at which the article can be imported, and is the same test going to be applied rigorously to Irish industries generally? But, leaving that aside for the moment, we are not likely to be in the coming year, I fear, in the happy position that we shall have a reduction in imports from the dollar area and a rather precious saving of £5.2 million worth of dollars by reason of the fact that we are able to grow our own wheat.

May I ask one question, just to illuminate the subject? Why, if the wheat price at present offered is not attractive, are speculators taking conacre at £25 and £36 per acre?

That is not so.

Is that denied? Will the Deputy have a bet on it?

I would say that the Minister is out by at least 25 or 30 per cent.

I will give the Deputy the public advertisements. Wait until I show him those.

I have known small farmers—indeed, some people with no land of their own at all—in certain areas in the country who go in for conacre; they have been doing that for years past and they have paid as much as £30 per acre for land on which to sow beet, and we all know that beet is not as remunerative as wheat. The Minister knows the Borris area in Carlow where that system obtains. I do not know what the price is this year, but in past years they have paid £30 per acre.

As was stated in connection with wheat growing, there may have been a certain number of what are called speculators. On the other hand, there were a number of young men who had equipped themselves with agricultural machinery—tractors, combine harvesters and so forth — who were either in or getting into the contracting business; they may be described by some as speculators; others would describe them as Irish farmers' sons trying to get a living in their own country and trying to get into agriculture for their own benefit and, I suggest, for the benefit of the country. If they were making money on wheat, is it not a fact that for many years the farmers were losing money on wheat? Do we not remember the concluding years of the emergency period when yields were not anything like what they have been since? Now farmers have been able to fertilise, look after their land and put it into good heart.

If the Minister exercises the same control and the same watchfulness as he and his colleagues appear to have shown in regard to these speculators who have been taking land for wheat, if he shows the same care and the same watchfulness in regard to industries and the distributive trades generally, the country will, I am sure, benefit. Just because of the political aspect of this question and the fact that the subsidy came up for discussion in this House, every farmer who goes in for wheat growing on a large scale naturally had his case very prominently before the public. But I suggest to the Minister, and he knows this better than I do, that there are many people making much larger profits in perhaps not as honest or not as industrious a way as the farmer who produced high-yielding crops of wheat during the past year.

Deputy Briscoe says there is nothing in that theory at all. He says it is a fallacy. He spoke from the Deputy's own benches.

We are not absolutely hide-bound and Deputy Briscoe is entitled to his point of view.

But his colleague does not agree with it then.

The Minister referred in his opening statement, with signs of evident satisfaction, to the increased volume of production and the increased employment given in Irish industries since pre-war. He spoke of these figures as being most encouraging. Whether in office or out of office, I always have more faith in a governmental statement, be it a departmental or a ministerial one, which seems to give both sides of the picture or which alludes in some measure to the less bright aspect, particularly if the position is that prospects may not be quite so roseate as they are painted. I prefer that rather than putting all the nice things in the window, as the Minister has done, and trying to persuade the people that everything in the garden is lovely. Perhaps the Minister does not really feel that. Perhaps, when he is making his concluding statement, he will make the necessary reservations. We are all familiar with the reservations that important Ministers in other countries have to make and the care and the caution and the prudence they exercise even when they are making concessions; even when they are telling the people what good fellows they are, they still want the people to be very careful and very cautious knowing at the backs of their minds that things are not as propitious perhaps as they have been leading the people to believe.

Now the rate of improvement in production shown in 1953 was not maintained in 1954. According to the figures I have made out, the quarterly average in 1951 was 174; in 1952 it was 170; in 1953, 187; in 1954, 191. In the December quarter of 1954 — the last quarter for which figures are available—our production index stood at 196.1, which is a reduction on the December, 1953, figure when it was 196.4. The reason for this figure is that our trade balance for 1954 stood at the rather high figure of £64.8 million. The Minister in his statement referred to the £1,000,000 increase in imports last year. According to theStatistical Bulletin, issued officially, actually imports were practically the same as during the previous year. At page 9 of the Trade Statistics of Ireland, 1954:—

"The total value of domestic exports in 1954 was almost exactly the same as in 1953, but there were significant changes in composition. Exports of foodstuffs of other than animal origin fell by £14.2 million ... but this was completely offset by increases of £8.8 million in the value of cattle exports; £1.6 million in exports of other live animals and foodstuffs of animal origin; and £3.9 million in other exports (principally secondhand cars, cardboard and stockings); cattle accounted for 30 per cent. of domestic exports compared with 23 per cent. in 1953, and foodstuffs of other than animal origin accounted for only 9 per cent. of domestic exports compared with 22 per cent. in 1953."

So that when the Tánaiste tells us that exports are up and that the volume is up by 3 per cent., I think it would be fairer—and may I even say franker— to tell the public that the increased volume of exports is due to the increase in the numbers of cattle exported and that the improvement in the trade situation to such extent as there is an improvement, is due to the fact that we sold more cattle and sold them at higher prices.

I am sure the Tánaiste saw the articles by—I presume—an economist in theIrish Times recently dealing with this matter.

"The net increase," he said, "of £1,000,000 in the total value of exports may be contrasted with the decline that occurs in a single category of exports whose value fell from £24,000,000 in 1953 to £9,750,000 in 1954, a drop of £14,250,000 or almost 60 per cent."

He goes on to say:—

"The list showing the items whose exportation has declined indicates that the present adverse trends affect a very wide range of exports. Furthermore, in many cases the decreases noted in this table represent the virtual disappearance of the export market for these commodities. Thus, mincemeat and cake mixture have disappeared from the list of exports and salad cream and sweetened fat have declined by 90 per cent. to 95 per cent. Other items whose exports were last year reduced to a quarter or one-fifth of their 1953 value include condensed milk, fruit, jam, potatoes for consumption, chocolate preparations and other confections. Exports of eggs, cream, dried milk, cheese and chickens fell to one-third of their 1953 value."

Might I ask the Deputy one question—is it not a pretty good performance to have increased our exports in a year in which these embroidery and purely emergency exports declined so substantially? Think of that side of it for a minute. A mincemeat export industry—in the name of God, how long could we maintain that? Or sending out salad cream to Britain?

It was not a permanent trade but the point is that it was an export which represented——

We could have sent out cocoa coupons then.

——£24,000,000 in our exports and if we admit it was an export category that was not likely to continue, the point is that we have not got that £24,000,000 and what industrial exports are we likely to be able to replace it with? Is not the position as the writer in theIrish Times said, that we have been depending on that and that the improvements in our trade figures are due in a very great degree to the improvement in cattle prices, and is it not a fact that we have no control over the future of that trade? I do not believe that there will be any substantial change.

I presume that the traders in the cattle market and all connected with the trade who have expressed themselves as being satisfied that they will be able to continue and that the Irish cattle population will be maintained, know what they are talking about. But the point is, if we are talking about industrial exports and about what we can do to keep people in employment, let us bear in mind that were it not for the increase which took place in such a remarkable degree last year, first in the value and, secondly, in the volume of our cattle exports, our trading position would be very wonky indeed.

The Tánaiste also referred to an improvement in our exports to the dollar area. I have an understanding of the difficulties of building up exports to the dollar area, but I think there is scarcely that reason for clapping ourselves on the back. In spite of the hard work that An Foras Tionscal has carried out and in spite of the research and investigation and inquiries that have been made and the money that has been spent—and I dare say spent well, in that it was necessary in the circumstances—the fact is that our exports to the United States of America actually fell and the increase is attributable to an improvement in our trade with Canada. But we have a very long way to go before we can say that we have secured a foothold in the American market to anything like the same extent as even our competitors, the Danes, who almost overnight succeeded in building up a valuable trade in canned hams and other meat and agricultural products in the United States of America.

The point, at any rate, is that as regards the loss of that particular trade, whether it was a loss that we would have to suffer and face in the long run or not, it was associated with agriculture and the fact that it was associated with agriculture and that we are being advised by expert quarters to concentrate on industry relating to agriculture, must make us examine the position as to whether we have, in lieu of what we have lost, improved our position in regard to other items of agricultural processed food.

Last year there were decreases— these figures bring them out—in pork, chickens and turkeys, wool and flax. Eggs fell by nearly £2,500,000, and that was a serious matter for the smaller man. The point is that while we hope and trust, and our present information is that the present boom may continue, we do not know how long it will continue. The gentleman who has written these articles says: "If and when prices fall...." Perhaps they may never fall, but experience has led us to believe generally in these matters that the greater the boom the greater the slump afterwards, unfortunately, and we have no control over that market, and the fluctuations that have taken place in respect of the other items to which I refer show that there is a certain element of jeopardy in having our economy and our material future dependent in such a very large degree upon a particular inflation of prices in the cattle industry which has taken place at this time.

But theIrish Times writer went on in somewhat the same way as I would have done myself—and I had intended referring to it before his article appeared—in regard to the extraordinary list of items which we are still importing: motor vehicles and parts, representing £10,500,000; chemicals and chemical products, £7,000,000; electrical goods and apparatus, £5.3 million; paper and cardboard, £6,750,000. This gentleman says:—

"There is something a little absurd about our importing brand new motor-cars and exporting the cast-offs in return."

The usual practice in countries that want to go ahead is to spend on necessary raw materials, and export the finished product. It was by concentrating attention and resources on the purchase of necessary raw materials that the Germans, for example, were able to build themselves up and have a large surplus to credit. We in this country apparently think we are so far advanced economically that we can do the opposite of what the Germans, the British, the French or the Americans would do. We import the finished article and export the cast-offs.

You permitted the export of the cars yourselves.

The Tánaiste is referring to everything his predecessor did. Naturally, the former Minister for Industry and Commerce having been in office for a very long time, there were very few items in connection with our economy or our industries that did not come up for attention. My reply to the Tánaiste, briefly, is that he should try to stand on his own feet sometime and not be always making the excuse that his predecessor did this or that. Even if his predecessor did it, I am not holding that his predecessor was infallible.

We know that.

I have a rather more modest opinion of him than the Tánaiste has. The point I want to make is that changes come about very rapidly in the modern world as the position in Australia shows at the present time. Australia believed she had uranium and she was going to be one of the richest countries in the world. She went on a spending spree and recently the Government have had not alone to cut down the importation of consumer goods but they had actually, although it hurt the friend across the water very much, to cut down their essential imports by one-third. Why did they do that, I wonder? They must not have gone to school with the Tánaiste and some of the rest——

The Deputy must have thought he was going to find a gold mine when he wanted to knock down the Castle and "scorch" a dozen acres of land around Government Buildings.

That will come along in due course, I am quite sure.

It sounds a little likebeal bocht.

I do not know whether in connection with these American exports a sufficiently intensive drive is being made to secure the goodwill of the population of Irish descent in the United States. If we have a distance to go which we may not be able to cover to get into that market in the ordinary way, it is obviously our duty to enlist the sympathy of our friends and the one section we can depend on to give us their goodwill and their support would be the Irish. I do not know to what extent the organisations that have been set up to develop our exports in America have been concentrating their attention on the Irish population over there.

I know when I was Minister for Lands that in respect of the comparatively small dealings we had with manufacturers there who were importing Irish tweeds made by Gaeltacht Industries, they did not seem to be able to get enough of them. But we had the competition of the Scots. They were certainly aiming at the Irish population. They advertised on St. Patrick's Day in particular. They had photographs of prominent Irish personages in the windows and they tried to have something similar to "Irish Week" here in Dublin.

If the Tánaiste had given us more definite information as to the extent of the employment which has been provided under the applications made to the Industrial Development Authority and under the work of Foras Tionscal, I think that Deputies would have a more realistic idea of what value the country was actually getting and what progress we were making. It looks very consoling indeed to be told that 82 firms began or extended business, that 240 approaches were made by other firms and that there were 215 proposals. But if we could get some idea of the larger enterprises, like the proposal for the establishment of a nitrogenous fertiliser industry here, which would give a good deal of employment it would hearten Deputies into feeling they were getting somewhere and making real progress with industrial development.

I should like to ask the Tánaiste to exercise his goodwill in favour of the grass drying scheme which was set up in the Bangor-Erris area in County Mayo. The general manager of Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann and his board have shown through their enterprise, ability and organisation that a great deal can be done in the way of rehabilitating land and getting valuable agricultural crops from it in the poorest parts of this country. The contention has been that as well as getting valuable crops a good deal of employment can be given in one way or another not alone in the production of, say, grass and the drying of it, but in road making, and so on, at other periods of the year. I think that schemes of that kind which go a step further than what is being done under the land rehabilitation project, where the work is actually carried out under skilled management and under the control of authorities like Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann or an independent body working under the Department of Agriculture, are a hopeful prospect for these areas.

With reference to the expenditure on ports—although I do not represent a maritime constituency—I am strongly in favour of the Government doing everything it possibly can to advance the development of the ports of Waterford and Cork. I believe that to create a counterpoint to Dublin in the South of Ireland and particularly to develop large provincial centres such as Cork is the only way in which this vexed question of decentralisation can be dealt with. The Commission on Population and Emigration made recommendations to the Government and, so far, we have had no statement from the Government as to their intentions with regard to the recommendations made by that body: no doubt we shall have another opportunity of discussing that matter. However, I should like to call to the attention of the House, in furtherance of what has been said by many Deputies on this question, that that commission recommended that positive action should be taken to accelerate the growth of provincial urban centres to redress the existing unbalanced distribution of the town population. They referred, in particular, to the maximum development of agriculture around these areas and to the establishment of industries. They also mentioned the transference of administration, particularly of semi-State or State bodies, to some of the provincial centres.

The plight of traders in some of our smaller towns is very serious at the present time. A situation is developing steadily and remorselessly against them and a great many of them will be entirely eliminated if the present situation continues. Many of them were never very prosperous. Competition has become very severe. Costs have increased and wages and employment have taken an entirely different path from what we were accustomed to 30 or 40 years ago. All that has meant that the smaller trader in the country town finds it almost impossible to carry on. The motor car has not helped him. It may have helped some of the larger towns such as Limerick or Clonmel, but the people in the smaller areas are in a very serious plight. I think it is an enormous loss to this country, socially, if a small community—even if it is only a few hundred people—is affected by loss of employment and by the closing down of business.

These small traders down the country see the City of Dublin aggrandising itself every day at their expense. They see all the expenditure in connection with the central administration concentrated—to a certain degree, at any rate—in Dublin. They see the country financing huge housing schemes. Deputy Giles often adds some valuable opinions to our discussions here. He has pointed out that we are taking some of the best agricultural land in this country and building houses on it for the purpose, apparently, of bringing another 100,000 people into the city, as we have done in the past 20 or 30 years. Besides, the country trader has to contend with this menace of hire-purchase facilities by highly-financed British syndicates coming into this country—and it is neither to-day nor yesterday, but long ago, that these hire-purchase people started their ramifications into the most distant parts of our country. In my view, everything possible ought therefore be done to restrain any further concentration of administration or industry in this large city. Everything possible ought to be done to force future development outwards.

I should like to ask the Minister to bear in mind his promise to do what he can to maintain the Portlaw tannery in production. We have always been proud of old traditional industries such as the tanneries and the woollen industry: we regarded them as something especially Irish. If they have to go, under modern circumstances and because the pressure is so great that there is no alternative, then we shall have to face it. However, I would ask the Minister to do everything he can —even if the community depending upon the industry be a small one—to try and see that the industry is preserved.

There has been a good deal of anxiety in the Castlecomer area about the future of the coal mines there. If it is possible—through more expert advice or through the provision of additional capital or better machinery —to help the industry there then it should be done because I think the industry now has a good prospect of getting out of the doldrums. Last year they were looking for orders for Irish anthracite: now they are unable to fulfil them. The fear in the area was that the mines were going through a very parlous time and that men were being laid off. Now, apparently, there is a prospect of advancement. If the Minister can do anything to help that industry to take the market which is available to it and to enable it to give more employment in the area then he will be doing very good work.

I am sorry also that, in regard to the bacon industry, we have had complaints that there is a good deal of uncertainty as to future prospects. Workers are being laid off. I realise that the subject of bacon pertains more particularly to the Minister for Agriculture, but I would ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce to do what he can to keep these small industries in being. I would ask him to get them to report to him on their actual situation so that effective action can be taken to stave off unemployment before a crisis arrives.

My sole reason for intervening at this stage is to bring to the attention of the Minister the increase in the cost of living. Since last month further price rises have been announced. According to the Dublin Cattle Market Report for yesterday, there was a further increase of 2/- a cwt. in the price. I suppose that increase will be reflected almost immediately in the price of meat to the housewife. I wonder where these increasing prices will end? Potatoes are now from 4/- to 4/4 a stone. I have heard of a woman who went into a shop last week to buy six potatoes: I suppose she could not afford to buy a quarter stone.

That gives a true picture of the situation in Dublin at the moment. I cannot understand how any man with a wife and six children can keep his household on £6 9s. a week with prices at their present level. What purchasing power has that wage now compared with this time 12 months ago? From statistical reports, I reckon that 43 items have increased in price in the past 12 months. I grant that all of them do not affect the city dweller. For instance, bran, pollard and pig meal do not directly affect the city dweller but nine-tenths of these 43 items would affect the Dublin housewife. She is finding it infinitely harder to carry on this year on the same money as she had last year.

The building strike deserves more from the Minister than the reply he gave to the question yesterday, that the matter was having his consideration. The fact that the Minister is a Labour man means that there should be a more positive approach to the matter. The employers and their organisations should be consulted in an effort to bring this strike to an early end. Desperate needs require desperate remedies and no time should be lost in making some effort to stop this emigration of skilled labourers and plasterers, who are leaving Ireland every day at the moment. At the same time, efforts should be made to relieve their wives and families.

This debate has ranged over a few weeks and it would be impossible in the circumstances to reply even sketchily to all the points raised in the course of the debate. Therefore, I do not propose to weary the House with a long detailed report on the many matters of administrative detail that were raised here. I would like to deal with some of the more important matters that have been raised and to assure Deputies that, even if a matter is not touched upon in the course of the reply, that does not mean that it will not have my personal attention when the result of this debate is being examined.

I am sorry Deputy Derrig has left, because personally I like Deputy Derrig and the one bit of advice I would tender to him—in his absence, I must tender it to his colleague—is to tell him to get rid of that bundle of gloomy cuttings he produced this evening. He would drive ordinary people mad browsing over these, as 98 per cent. of them are responsible for people having a physical break-down. I suggest in all good faith to Deputy Briscoe, to tell Deputy Derrig to get rid of the bundle of gloomy cuttings that he had here this evening. It was made up of cuttings from theIrish Times, speeches of every daftie up and down the country, things which would only be said by someone in a mental home. I would suggest to him not to spend hours on them, but to get rid of them as speedily as he can, as there is much better literature on the market. He should get some cheerful news and cheer himself up. Bonfires are being talked about in these days; the Deputy should make a political bonfire of those cuttings this evening and he would feel immensely better to-morrow and would feel that the country is not as bleak and miserable as this collection of Cassandras represent it to be.

Deputy Derrig talked on prices and Deputy Childers talked also on prices. I must say that while I cannot admire a lot of their argument, I admire the brazenness which they bring to bear on this discussion on prices. Who is talking about prices? Is not the consumer price index a Fianna Fáil creation, established by the Fianna Fáil Party? It was intended to measure price movements with a precision that the previous index never measured. It is a Fianna Fáil product, a Fianna Fáil brainchild, and it can be taken, therefore, as a method of measuring price movements without any suggestion that it has been created by us or that it is used by us for the purpose of manipulating prices. What are the facts?

When Fianna Fáil came into office in mid-May, 1951, they found the cost-of-living index figure, on their own basis of measurement, 109; and they went out in June, 1954, when the index figure for May, 1954, was 124. In other words, in that period of three years the cost of living had increased by 15 points. We all know what it takes to increase the cost of living by 15 points. Some of that was a normal or rather automatic increase but the bulk of the increase in prices was brought about by a deliberate slashing of the food subsidies—a slashing of food subsidies based on the recommendation of the Central Bank that the people were eating too much, consuming too much and that subsidies must be slashed in order to make sure that the people were not permitted to consume so much, were not permitted to eat too much, and the best way of doing it was to lift up the prices out of their reach, so that the people could not get at the food which it was alleged they were getting at too frequently and in too great quantity when we were previously in office. Is it not a bit thick? I do not want any public admission of this from them.

Do not run away with yourself altogether.

Is it not a bit thick for a Party which in three years increased the cost-of-living index figure by 15 points, to come in here and complain that after ten months we have not been able to get the cost-of-living index figure down to the level at which it was when we previously left office? Is it not a bit thick to expect us to do that—or who does who think they are fooling when they imagine we can be expected to undo in ten short months something that the Fianna Fáil Government did over three years? Are we expected now to crash down the cost of living by 15 points, when the Party who complain about our not doing it was responsible for that increase by its own deliberate policy?

Would the Minister give me permission to ask a question?

Indeed I will.

Did you not describe the food subsidies yourself in 1947 as a sham on the people and the workers?

If I have time I will deal with that, but if I do not I will deal with it on some other occasion. Of course it was, in the circumstances. You raided the right hand pocket of the people pretending to pay subsidies and whilst they were paying with the left hand you took the money out of their pockets by putting a tax on beer, tobacco and cigarettes to subsidise the very very limited quantity of food stuffs.

One second now. You put a question and wanted an answer. When we got into office we said it was not necessary to take these taxes out of the pockets of the people to subsidise foodstuffs. And what did we do? We put back the £6,000,000 you took out of the pockets of the people and we left the prices subsidised as well.

By borrowing the £6,000,000, leaving it to the Fianna Fáil Government to pay.

No, no. Whom did we borrow from?

The Deputy had better not ask questions at all.

The only trouble with us was that we paid our debts too promptly.

Several questions have been raised here about An Foras Tionscal and allegations were made against that body which are quite unjustified, allegations as to the purpose which it was intended by my predecessor to discharge. I do not think they are justified by reference to the facts. The previous Minister who was responsible for introducing the Undeveloped Areas Bill made it clear at the time—with the concurrence of the House—that it was intended that an industry which went to an undeveloped area should get the grant where it could show— and only where it could show—that it was operating at a competitive disadvantage. That was to be the test for making a grant in those cases. The Minister's statement in that respect is recorded in the Dáil Debates for 4th December, 1951, column 240. He said then:—

"It is only where there is clearly shown that there exists a competitive disadvantage attached to a location in one of these undeveloped counties that the question of help would arise and where an application for help would be considered."

That makes it clear that, before a grant could be obtained, a person would have to show that he operated at a competitive disadvantage.

Is that in the Act?

That is a statement by the Minister.

It is the Act that is administered and not a statement in the House.

That is a very clear direction to Foras Tionscal.

I am prepared to believe that the word of my predecessor is as good as the Act. If the Deputy has any doubts on that, I will present him with those doubts.

How could Foras Tionscal do something contrary to that?

Further on in the debate, at column 822 of the Dáil Debates of 12th December, 1951, the then Minister said:—

"It is only where there is a competitive disadvantage that help should be given and the help should be related to the competitive disadvantage."

That was clearly the intention of the Minister at that time and it is on that basis that Foras Tionscal have operated in the meantime.

Suggestions have been made in the course of the debate that their object was to grill applicants to see how much they could put up and that applicants were turned down without full consideration of the merits of the case. The bulk of the work done by Foras Tionscal up to the moment has been done under the administration of my predecessor, but I think he would say, as I think I can say from my experience, that all these applications are sympathetically considered. There is no suggestion of applicants being grilled.

That is perfectly true.

But the board has to make sure that people do not come in with the rather frothy notion that they will establish an industry with everybody's money but their own. That is the easiest and the most pleasant hobby in the world to cultivate—trying to establish an industry with somebody else's money. Foras Tionscal have to ensure, if they are going to give a grant—and the grants have been quite good grants—that the person who proposes to promote the industry and who will get the plums in the end, if it succeeds, will risk some of his own money. Is there anything wrong in that? I do not think there is.

Their aim has been to try to get a reasonable balance between the person putting up the money, on the one hand, and being assisted by a grant from Foras Tionscal, on the other, but over and above that, a person starting at a competitive disadvantage in an undeveloped area will also be eligible for any other State advantage that is going. He may, for example, apply for a loan under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act and the fact that he got a grant from Foras Tionscal would not operate to deny him the benefit of that Act. I think, therefore, that while everybody would wish, as I personally would wish, although I was not responsible for this Act, that, for reasons of good national housekeeping, it was possible to induce more potential industrialists to start industries in the undeveloped areas, I think nevertheless that, in all the circumstances, we have to be tolerably well satisfied with the progress which has been made.

All these cases of applications take a long time to mature. The grants which are notionally made in the first instance, and earmarked for the new industry, are grants which are paid only when the person concerned has shown a willingness to expend his own money. He must open the factory or open the efforts to establish a factory with his own money and when that has been spent and the need for State help arises, the State help is made available to him, but the grants made so far, and I hope they will be on an increasing scale, are grants of a kind which will attract a greater number of industries. So far, the grants made have been made in respect of an invested capital of £1,500,000 and that capital would probably not have been invested there, were it not for the facilities provided under the Undeveloped Areas Act.

I thought that portion of the cost of factories—50 per cent. of the cost of erecting a factory— would be borne or given as a grant by Foras Tionscal.

It all depends on the circumstances—on the type of industry, on its location, on the conditions in the area and on the commodity to be made. There is no rigid pattern. I think the test has been one of trying to get worthwhile industries established in these places by persons who are genuinely concerned with establishing an industry and not merely anxious to ride in and ride out with whatever they can get.

Deputy Corry raised the problem of Cork Harbour and a whole variety of matters surrounding that problem. I do not propose to go into these matters because they do not belong to this House. They are matters which concern the Cork Harbour Board and as apparently there is a civil war in progress between Deputy Corry and his colleague, Deputy McGrath, the Lord Mayor of Cork, I do not propose to add fuel to that fire.

I thought it was a most uncivil war.

I should imagine that, if we were allowed to listen in to it at times, it would seem to be a rather uncivil war. However, when Deputy Corry gets out of the domain of his local row with Deputy McGrath and moves into Cobh to talk about the industrial possibilities of Cobh, I think I have to take note of a few of the comments he made. He said he must get this industry in Cobh. He demands the introduction of this industry and says that if he does not get this and that done in Cobh, he will introduce motions, Bills and everything else in the House.

He is nearly as bad as Deputy Murphy.

I have not experienced that yet——

He made some demands to-night.

——but there will be the same medicine if I do. I do not mind if Deputy Corry "lambasts" Deputy McGrath. That is a matter for the Fianna Fáil Party. I do not mind if he is the problem child of the Fianna Fáil Party at their meetings either, nor am I going to be terribly frightened by the prospect of his being the tin can Caesar of Cobh either. What I am going to say to the people of Cobh is that I hope there will be further industrial development at Cobh because Cobh deserves further industrial development, but the interest of Cobh will not be served by these swashbuckling and brawlish speeches which Deputy Corry made in the course of this debate, which have done more, in my opinion, to harm the prospects of early expansion of industrial development at Cobh than anything else that could be said in the course of the debate on this Estimate.

That would be a very bad line to take.

It was a very bad line he took, I know.

No, on your part. Why hurt the poor Cobh people?

It would have paid the Cobh people to buy every word he uttered on the subject at £5 a time, so dangerous and damning was it to the whole project of development in Cobh.

The question of the importation of rail parts by C.I.E. was raised by Deputy MacBride, and I have also received deputations from the trade unions on this subject. I made it clear to C.I.E. that, so far as I am concerned, I want them to make at Kingsbridge every piece of mechanism they require for rail operation, one test only being applied, that is, that there should be a realistic approach to the problem of prices, that they should not, for example, undertake to manufacture the most difficult possible article on the lowest possible scale in the most difficult possible circumstances and at the highest possible price; but subject to their taking a realistic approach to price levels and costs, I was anxious that they should provide the maximum possible employment at Inchicore in the manufacture there of every conceivable thing they required for traction in this country.

I saw the trade union which complained to me that C.I.E. was not making as many parts as they could make. I saw the directors of C.I.E. and, at the same time, I asked the union to give me a list of the parts which they said C.I.E. were importing and I said I would ask C.I.E. to explain to me why these parts were being imported. I have not got the lists from the trade union yet, but since I saw them I saw the directors of C.I.E. and asked them to meet the unions concerned—these are mainly craft unions—in conference and explain to them a way in which the matter could be clearly demonstrated and subjected to test, why it is necessary to import parts, and if these parts have to be imported some adequate explanation should be given.

They have explained to me that it is necessary to import parts because while they can make a particular part themselves either the space required to make it, or the cost of importing parts or jigs to make it, would bring about a dislocation of employment in some other part of the factory. The net result would be that the making of this particular part would cause the pay-off of people in other parts of the factory and the net employment would be less than if they were permitted to import the parts which they had contemplated importing. The House and Deputy MacBride can take my assurance that, so far as I am concerned, I will do all I can to ensure the continuation of the policy which I indicated to them, namely, that they will make in Inchicore all parts possible, on a reasonably economic basis, without dislocating their other lines of production.

Deputy Lemass said that I had told Irish Shipping, Limited, to get ready for the introduction of a transatlantic passenger service. That could only have been deliberate distortion by the Deputy. I said no such thing to Irish Shipping, Limited, or anybody else. I told Irish Shipping, Limited, to examine the question of participating in both the cross-Channel and the transatlantic services. Surely, we have not such knowledge and wisdom in this matter that we do not need anybody to examine it for us? I want both problems examined. I want to give preference to the examination of our participation in cross-Channel shipping and in transatlantic shipping.

On the question of transatlantic shipping, I want Irish Shipping, Limited, to say what that involves, what is the cost, and what are the prospects. It is a much more difficult trade than the cross-Channel trade, although even that may well be difficult in our circumstances, because of the vested interests which have been built up. There can be no harm in asking a body like Irish Shipping, Limited, to examine what is involved in participation in the transatlantic trade. I made it clear to them that I wanted to have examined as a matter of first importance our participation in a cross-Channel trade. It is a trade in which we have always had, and probably always will have, a natural interest because of the density of the traffic.

The question of a coal reserve was raised by Deputy Lemass in this debate. When I am dealing with coal perhaps I will deal also with the question of anthracite.

Can I refer the Minister to what he did say about the transatlantic service in column 541 of the Dáil Debates, 23rd March, 1955, Volume No. 4? It is a little different from what he has said now.

If the Deputy wants to quote, I do not mind.

Here is the quotation:—

"Irish Shipping, Limited, at my request are at present examining the possibilities of entering the transatlantic passenger trade and of extra Irish participation in the cross-Channel trade."

The emphasis is on the transatlantic trade.

Of course, that is what I said "examining the possibilities".

That is what Deputy Lemass referred to.

Is there anything wrong with examining a possibility so that we may have at our disposal a report from a competent body of persons, which in turn will be examined departmentally, examined at Government level, and the question will be examined in this House?

Well, then, it does not amount to very much.

On what side is the Deputy in this matter?

I am on my own side.

That was a redundant comment.

What is the sense of getting it examined if we are not going to go on with it?

The Minister does not know whether he is going to go on with it or not until it is examined.

The Minister must be allowed to make his speech.

It might have been suggested that the biscuit factory in Ballina might have been examined before it was announced.

It is the oil refinery, too, according to a Labour paper.

The question of the coal reserves has been raised. Imports of anthracite coal had been restricted when I took office to such an extent that many Deputies made representations to me about the difficulty in getting anthracite coal for use by persons who had purchased cookers, in the knowledge that they could only use anthracite coal. I personally thought that there had been an excessive pruning down of anthracite imports. Those people concerned certainly had to make strong representations to me. I, in turn, had representations made in the hope of getting sufficient supplies for the requirements of those who use anthracite in domestic heating appliances. This year I have taken steps to ensure that the difficulties of last year, which I inherited, will not recur. I have asked Irish coal importers to arrange with the National Coal Board to import a larger quantity of anthracite. I have done that against this background: I have told the Irish coal importers that I am doing that to carry them over the difficulties, and to ensure that they can supply the needs of the country so far as anthracite is concerned, but they must in turn agree to take up the entire production of the Irish coal mines. They have agreed to have coal imported on that basis.

The coal dump at the Park, which amounted to 250,000 tons, has been so heavily drawn from during the past year that at present I think the stock there amounts to approximately 110,000 tons. We have now not such a heavy demand on that dump, firstly because of the weather conditions, and the fact that coal imports are now at a satisfactory level. I think it would be necessary not to permit further drawings from the dump until we see what the coal situation will be when we get into next winter. Then it may be possible to continue the discharge of coal from the dump again. The coal, of course, is being sold from the dump at approximately £3 per ton less than the cost of putting it in the dump. It may be desirable, nevertheless, to keep a supply of coal there against the possibility of a shortage of coal imports from Britain due either to transport difficulties, inclement weather or to the possibilities of a suspension of work in the British coal mines.

The question of the Cork Airport was raised in the course of this debate as, indeed, it has been raised during the past three or four years in this House. As the House knows, negotiations are at present proceeding between the British Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Department of Industry and Commerce on the question of the present bilateral air agreement. These discussions are widespread in character and have an important significance for this country. What the outcome of these discussions will be it is not possible at this stage to say, but the outcome will have an important bearing not only on our air services but on the future development of our air services as well. I sincerely hope that the bearing on our development will be of a character which will permit of a further expansion, but until such time as we can ascertain what is the final result of these discussions, I think it would be unwise to commit ourselves to any particular type of airport at Cork. I know that people who want to do things in a grandiose way will say: "Sure, it does not matter if it costs £1,000,000 in Cork." There are people who can think in terms that £1,000,000 is the smallest coinage.

My helicopters would solve that problem.

Is the Deputy going into that business now?

I have asked the Minister to go into it and if he gives me the franchise I will go into it all right.

It may well be that the airport needed for Cork is not one in which hundreds of thousands are sunk in a deep long runway. It may be that the needs may be in a shorter runway and a much more utilitarian type of airport. That will depend on the type of plane that is going to come to and leave Cork. It will depend also on the number of passengers carried in these planes both ways.

It would be clearly fantastic to put in a very large airport in Cork with long runways in all directions and providing for large aerial transport planes if, in fact, a small number of passengers travel both in and out of the airport. That has got to be tested out against a number of considerations, one of the main considerations being what is to be our future air policy in the light of the discussion now taking place with the British? I can assure the Cork Deputies of all Parties that this matter will be fully examined. It is under examination at the moment. It will be considered personally and sympathetically by me but it is not unreasonable to ask the Cork Deputies and the House to test this matter against what will be the result of the discussions now taking place between the British and Irish Governments on the question of the future of the English-Irish air service. The Cork Deputies in any case can be assured as far as I am concerned that I am approaching the matter not with a closed mind but with a mind bending in the direction of providing Cork with an airport and an air service on the understanding, of course, that we will get passengers coming in and out of Cork in any airport that is established there.

With regard to the question of the new undertaking of Mianraí Teoranta which was established for the purpose of producing grass meal in Mayo, this is a project about which I frankly could not find much information in the Department of Industry and Commerce nor could I find any father or foster-father of the scheme. I, therefore, asked that the matter should be reexamined to see whether this was a scheme which promised to provide a reasonable return to the State for the investment of its money and reasonable employment for the people who had hoped to get employment there. The situation is that the general position of that company is under close consideration at the moment.

The question of a new bus station in Cork City was raised by some Deputies. I think it was raised previously by means of parliamentary question. That, of course, is a matter within the administrative jurisdiction of C.I.E., but, as a result of inquiries which I made in the matter, I have been informed that C.I.E. are at present considering the establishment of a new bus station in Cork and it is hoped that some steps will be taken in that direction during the present year.

The question of transport legislation was also raised in the main, I think, by Deputy Lemass. Deputy Lemass thought that C.I.E. had passed the limit of the moneys available for its capital commitments. The position is that proposals for transport legislation, mainly for increasing the borrowing powers of C.I.E., had been under consideration by Deputy Lemass as Minister for Industry and Commerce. It has been necessary for us as a Government to examine these proposals and to consider whether any adjustments might be desirable. I hope to be able to introduce a short measure in the near future which I trust can be enacted before the summer recess. In the meantime C.I.E. can still issue transport stock up to £4,500,000. That would be sufficient. In fact, it would be more than sufficient to meet their capital needs until the new legislation has been enacted. The proposed Bill is at present with the parliamentary draftsman and no delay will take place in introducing it into the House.

The position of the G.N.R. was raised by some other Deputies. The position at the moment is that a programme of 20 new diesel rail cars is being approved both by myself and the Minister for Commerce in Belfast to meet the G.N.R. requirements. These rail cars will be built in the Dundalk works. Only the chassis, engines and transmission will be imported. This work alone should provide employment for several years to come. The G.N.R. also have proposals for a diesel locomotive programme and for a carriage and wagon building programme. The extent to which these programmes may be implemented will be influenced in some substantial measure by decisions taken in the Six Counties on the future of the railways there. If it is decided to maintain the main and secondary lines, it seems almost certain that the works at Dundalk will be more than fully occupied for a considerable time to come.

To set at rest some fears which may have arisen recently let me say that the G.N.R. authorities contemplate constructing diesel locomotives in their works from imported parts and that they have employed a firm of efficiency experts to advise them on the best method of modernising the works at Dundalk.

A Deputy raised the question of the reduction in the provision for technical assistance in the Vote this year and mentioned that there was a decrease of £41,000. Deputy Lemass made the same statement. The position is that in last year's Vote there was provision for the expenditure of £83,000 but in fact only £22,000 was spent. That was due to the fact that there was some delay in the completion of the necessary agreement with the United States authorities for the release of the Counterpart Funds. This year, instead of making provision for last year's £22,000, we propose to make provision for the expenditure of £42,000, £20,000 more than was spent last year, and I hope it will be possible to utilise that sum to the fullest. It will not be for want of good intention in that respect if there is any saving on that item.

I think it was Deputy Derrig who raised the question of An Foras Tionscal and thought there was a tendency to reduce the amount of expenditure under that heading for this year. The position is that last year An Foras Tionscal expenditure amounted to £65,000. We propose to provide in this year's Estimate for the expenditure, not of £65,000, but of £100,000, an increase of £35,000 on last year's expenditure.

Deputy Briscoe, I think, raised the question of redundancy in C.I.E. I do not think that is a matter which we can discuss across the House, but it is a matter in which Deputies, very naturally, have a keen interest, as I have. I have discussed this matter with C.I.E. and I have impressed upon C.I.E. the importance of recognising that they are dealing with human beings, that there must be a humanitarian approach to this whole problem, that you cannot set men up on a board and say: "We do not want that block there," and knock them off the board as if you had no further moral responsibility to them, that this is a problem that has to be helped by a human approach. I have suggested to C.I.E. that they must err on the side of excessive humanity in approaching this problem rather than otherwise. It is a difficult problem. I do not think, however, it is an insoluble problem. It can be done over a period, if normal wastages are used for the purpose of soaking up anticipated redundancy and —it is well that this note of warning should be sounded—if the trade unions concerned will approach this matter from the standpoint of recognising that there is a special set of circumstances and difficulty to be got over and that no excessive sense of punctilio should permit them to make the profound mistake of standing for rigidity in interpretation as to whose work this is and whose work that is. With the blend of a very human approach to the problem on the one hand and a flexibility and understanding by the trade unions on the other hand, I hope it will be possible to handle this problem in such a way that no regular employees of C.I.E. will lose their employment. That would be my desire and, so far as I have any responsibility in seeing that it runs, I will do my best to ensure that the problem is approached in that way.

The question of rural electrification subsidy was raised by a number of Deputies. It is necessary at the outset to take one's bearings in this matter telescopically and not to look at the whole problem through the microscope. We have now reached the stage in electrical development in which virtually everybody who pays taxes uses electric light. It may be that in some rural areas there are taxpayers who do not use electric light, but, by and large, when you remember the enormous improvement in electrical development, when you see that network spreading its tentacles all over the country, when you see the jump year after year in the consumption of electricity, it is obvious that we are now reaching a stage in which the ordinary taxpayer is indivisible from the electricity consumer. If we accept that as being the position or likely to be the position in the next two or three years then it does not matter who pays the rural electrification subsidy because one person is indistinguishable from another. The E.S.B. has made such substantial strides in recent years that its financial position is such that it is capable not only of carrying the State portion of the rural electrification bill but of having a surplus after doing that.

From what cause?

From the cause of progress.

From the cause of putting up the price of current, from the new system of charge.

The Deputy has not gripped my original point.

Is there any advantage to Deputy Briscoe, taking him as an example, in cutting his current by a fraction—it is only a fraction, if any cut were possible at all, on the small sum involved—if at the same time I siphon off from him cash to pay a subsidy in respect of rural electrification? The whole thing has to be a precise mathematical adjustment. The E.S.B. has imposed upon it the responsibility of balancing its charges and its accounts taking one year with another. If it makes a slight profit one year it has to plough it back one way or another the next year, but, so long as you have a situation in which the electricity consumer is virtually indistinguishable from the ordinary taxpayer, that question of subsidy does not arise. It is one of these mirages which disappear on close examination. We have now reached the stage in which the E.S.B., by prudent management, has been able to take on its own broad shoulders the responsibility of carrying on the rural electrification scheme out of its own resources.

Why not come in and amend the Act or cancel it?

The Deputy may be sure that I will comply with the law in this matter. If an amending Act should be necessary, as I think it will be, to do this, then we can bring in an amending Act.

You have already done it.

In the meantime I do not want to deny the Deputy the opportunity to rejoice that the E.S.B. is in such a strong position.

In view of that, can the Minister hold out any hope to the people in rural areas who have to pay the extra service charge?

Many of these different problems have to be approached in a different way. Let me give this information to the House: the E.S.B. have built up quite substantial reserves and they have been built up notwithstanding—or should I have said because of —the cautious policy of the E.S.B. They have also been able to devise a rather low average age for their assets and have always adopted a policy of a high standard of maintenance. They have had a combination of a low average age for their assets, a policy of a high standard of maintenance and of building up substantial reserves. This combination has put them in a very good financial position and everybody concerned with the promotion of public utilities, or who is concerned with establishing those organisations, should rejoice that this situation has been reached. As far as the future programme of the E.S.B. is concerned nobody needs to worry in the slightest.

What is the average cost per unit of electricity to-day and what was it ten years ago?

Now, Deputy.

Have we not got our electricity at the cheapest rate obtaining in any European country?

Not at all.

The very cheapest.

I cannot understand the Deputy wanting to abolish the subsidy on butter and complaining about the abolition of the E.S.B. subsidy. For the purposes of rural electrification the E.S.B. has divided the country into 770 areas each of 25 miles. The service was extended to 340 of these areas up to the 31st December last, and there now remain 430 areas to be supplied. Constructional work is being carried out at a rate of 100 areas annually. At this rate the entire network will be extended to all areas by 1959 when a total of approximately 286,000 rural consumers will have been connected to the system. Though the development is at present proceeding at a rate of double that of two years ago—I said double that of two years ago—there has been no slackening in the demand for the benefits of the scheme as evidenced by the numerous representations received regarding it. All I can say to the House is that despite the termination of the subsidy the scheme will proceed as originally planned and it is not anticipated by me or by the Government that there will be any risk of retarding the rate of development or that there will be any necessity to increase charges for current. I hope that statement will allay the unwarranted fears of those who imagine that this would necessarily mean an increase in charges. It will not mean increased charges; it will not mean a slowing down of the activities of the E.S.B.

The question of the trading activities of the E.S.B. was also raised by some Deputies, but I think that it is now a bit late in the day to raise that at this stage because in the Electricity Supply Act of 1927 the board were given powers to open showrooms for the display of electrical apparatus and to conduct demonstrations. They were empowered to provide, sell and let fittings, equipment and all that kind of thing. They were empowered to open and maintain shops and showrooms. They have gone on developing that policy. I think it was a wise policy because the board realised that if they were going to keep up the demand for electricity they would have to encourage people to buy electricity-consuming utensils.

They put all the rest of the people out of business.

Not at all. They realised what was necessary was an aggressive trade policy and an aggressive sales policy. These powers were given to them by this House and the same powers remained notwithstanding many changes in our E.S.B. legislation up to the present moment.

I object to that.

When there was a complaint by the Society of Electrical Traders a discussion took place between the board and the traders' society and it has been possible to negotiate what I think is now accepted by both the board and the society as a very satisfactory arrangement which enables the traders to sell and to take advantage of the board's hire-purchase terms and facilities. I do not think there is any need——

Has the Minister a note of what I said during the debate on these hire-purchase sales?

They coincide with the board's general policy.

I pointed out that the E.S.B. were doing a most illegal act in cutting off or threatening to cut off electricity supplies from people who defaulted in hire-purchase payments. I think the Minister should inquire into and find out whether it is illegal or not.

I shall look into that. I was not in the House when the Deputy mentioned it.

They have no right to do that.

The question of the establishment of a nitrogenous fertiliser project has been under consideration for some time by both the past Government and the present Government. Investigations have been proceeding for eight or nine years but he would be a wise man who gave it to say that he was now in a position to announce that the best and the only and the wisest way was a particular way. That is the mistake I think Deputy Lemass made when referring to this matter. No decision was made by the last Government to build a nitrogenous fertiliser factory in any place. The decision was to carry out further investigations.

Money was made available for that purpose and these investigations are being proceeded with. The investigations involve an examination of what is the best method of getting the nitrogenous fertiliser plant in circumstances that would be most advantageous to the nation. There will be a colossal sum of money involved in that. If we are to establish this factory we should do it only when we are satisfied we have got the best possible scheme and that the factory would be built in the best possible area. The main concern must be to give nitrogenous fertilisers at a price which will be advantageous to the Irish farming community. These are considerations which are at present being examined, particularly with regard to the best method of securing the type of fertiliser most suitable to Irish farming needs and especially as regards the location of the plant.

I think, therefore, the House can rest assured that, having regard to the amount of State capital which will necessarily be involved and having regard to the fact that it is desirable that the capital so involved should be employed in the most advantageous way, this is a matter about which there can be no hasty decision taken. All the considerations involved must be carefully vetted. This is a small country relatively and we cannot afford to immerse a substantial sum running into millions in a bog without thinking that we shall get back pound for pound what we put into the development of that bog for fertiliser purposes.

The question of tariff reviews was raised in the course of the debate by Deputy Lemass. Last year I asked the Industrial Development Authority, a body charged with many responsibilities, to undertake a review of about 19 or 20 industries in all which are functioning under tariffs here. The object of that review was to make sure that the community was getting good value for the tariffs, that the industries which were established with the aid of these tariffs were functioning as satisfactorily as we could make them function, that their promoters realised their obligation to the nation to produce to the optimum extent possible, providing the maximum employment possible, and that, generally speaking, they were utilising the tariffs for the purpose not of taking life easy but of ensuring the maximum development of our industrial potential.

During the year the Industrial Development Authority carried out some of these reviews and two reports have been submitted to me and are at present under examination. The Industrial Development Authority have assembled a good deal of information as to the position in relation to other tariffed industries and work on the review is now proceeding much more rapidly because of the fact that a certain amount of the preliminary work has been completed.

While I am on the subject of the Industrial Development Authority, I want to mention one matter in which I hope the House will be interested. I recently asked some members of the Industrial Development Authority at directorate level to go to Sweden for the purpose of seeing whether it would be possible for us to interest Swedish manufacturers in a proposal to come to Ireland, with entire production units, and manufacture here commodities which we at present import. That delegation went to Sweden. It was received cordially and at high level by influential industrialists and the delegates hope that the results of that visit will be to induce Swedish industrialists to come here and survey the possibilities of establishing industries to manufacture goods not at present manufactured here. I hope the delegation will be successful in inducing a number of these industrialists to come here. I hope that if success is achieved in that field, it will be possible to achieve a similar success in other fields, both in Europe and in the United States of America.

The one thing that clearly demonstrates itself to all who do any thinking on the subject is that unless we can now import additional technical know-how backed, for the purpose of industrial faith, by some imported capital, we will have a quite difficult task in expanding our industrial possibilities. We have, therefore, to attract industrial technical know-how from outside. I have asked the officers of my Department, in conjunction with the Industrial Development Authority, to compile a brochure setting out in detail the possibilities that offer for foreign industrialists who may desire to come in here with technical know-how and take advantage of the unique opportunities which in many respects we offer to foreign investors.

Every effort will be made during the year to disseminate that information to persons and in areas where the response is likely to be greatest. I hope in that respect I shall have the goodwill of this House and of all Parties for any and every realistic effort to attract new industrial enterprises as a means of providing goods and services for our own people, as a means of redressing the balance of payments and, finally, as a means of providing employment for our own people in their own land.

And, fourthly, these industrialists will have to be allowed to make profits.

I would leave that to someone else to raise——

The Minister is talking about goodwill.

——rather than have the Deputy raise it.

There has been very bad will against industrialists who make profits. The Minister should make that clear, too.

I think that is some haunting fear of the Deputy's.

It is not a haunting fear.

There is no justification for it at all.

I am thinking of the attack on profiteers.

But I am not dealing with profiteers at all. Surely the Deputy has someone else close to his heart besides profiteers.

I am thinking of the attacks on ordinary industrialists as if they were profiteers.

So far as I am concerned I will attack outrageous profiteers at any time and I will not be prevented from doing so.

What about the American coal?

That the Deputy wants sent to Donegal at £3 per ton less than we paid for it.

Ask Deputy Briscoe about the coal.

The Minister is glad to have it now.

We are paying for it; £3 per ton subsidy is not bad in order to get the public to consume it.

Deputy Rooney should go back to his insurance business.

The Minister is in possession.

The question of the proposed oil refinery was raised on this Estimate. I made an official statement saying that agreement had been reached in principle with three oil interests to erect an oil refinery here and that those interests proposed to submit a scheme to the Government in due course. I cannot understand what interests Deputy Lemass is trying to serve in this matter judging by the character of the speeches he is making. I do not know if he is trying to frighten away the oil interests. If he does not want these oil interests here, let him say so. Does he want to frighten them away?

That is not a fair interpretation.

Then, what is the interpretation? I have asked three times what interests Deputy Lemass is trying to serve by the character of his speeches. If he wants the credit for inviting these oil interests here, then we can alter the course of history and say that it was he who did it and live that lie for the rest of our lives, if that will keep him quiet.

Did he not encourage all that 20 years ago, and were not all the people over here then against it?

The Deputy is obsessed with post mortems. We are committed to examining the proposals put up by these three oil companies. Before any approval can be given to the establishment of a refinery here these proposals will have to be examined in detail by the Government. The Government has given no blank cheque to anybody. I have given no blank cheque to anybody. The Industrial Development Authority, which I asked to conduct the negotiations with these interests, has given no blank cheque to anybody. The companies have committed themselves to submitting a scheme to us and that scheme, when received, will be microscopically examined from the standpoint of protecting the interests of the Irish people and the Irish consumer.

Is there anything wrong with that? For pity sake, do not let our political antagonisms and our political pettinesses at this stage reach the level where someone wants to destroy the possibilities of our getting something, which may be worth while, merely because someone else at some date in the future may want to claim that he was largely responsible for it.

Deputy Lemass did not say half as much as the Labour paper said.

I do not give passports or certificates to people who make statements which I think are unwise. Neither am I concerned with anything that appears in Labour papers. I am functioning in this matter from the point of view of the interests of the Irish people.

It was more unfair to the Minister than it was to Deputy Lemass.

Then the Deputy can bracket the paper with Deputy Lemass if he likes. If he gets any consolation out of that, he can have it.

I am talking of a different matter altogether.

References were made by Deputy McQuillan and Deputy MacBride in relation to the possibility of promoting whiskey exports to the United States. That is a matter in which I have always been interested because it seems to me that a country like this ought to have certain natural advantages in the matter of exporting whiskey to countries where the consumption of whiskey is not so general as it is here. Since I took office I have devoted quite an amount of time to endeavouring to ensure the production here of a blended whiskey which will command a sale on the American market in places where the traditional Irish whiskey does not command a market at the moment.

I do not mean by anything I have done or am doing or intend to do to start an unwise and unnecessary rivalry between the traditional Irish whiskey and the blended whiskey. The blended whiskey will represent Irish whiskey, well-known Irish whiskey. It will be blended and sent to the United States; it will be sold there as a specially blended whiskey and it is being compounded in such a way as to appeal, in the judgment of an American expert competent to judge, to the American palate. That does not mean that we should not be pushing our traditional whiskey to its uttermost limits in the United States. I hope that those Irish distillers who are not at present participating in the production and export of a blended whiskey, will, if they so desire, enter that market as well. I hope, at the same time, that they will do everything possible to maintain their exports of the traditional whiskey which has always been exported from this country.

I am very glad to say that an Irish company has been established of two Irish groups for the purpose of blending a whiskey for export to the American market and I hope that this year this new Irish company as a first effort —and I hope it will not be the last effort—will be in a position to export to the United States as much of this blended whiskey as would represent our entire whiskey exports to the United States in 1954. If we can reach a situation in which this blended whiskey, a blend of existing Irish whiskeys, can in one year find a market in the States for a quantity equivalent to our entire exports to the United States in 1954, it will not, I submit, be a bad achievement.

All the blend will be Irish whiskey, I presume?

Oh, yes. All the blend will be Irish whiskey. I hope that the very fact that this whiskey is going to the American market and that it will be accompanied by a sales promotion campaign will not only stimulate the demand for the new type of Irish whiskey but will do a good deal to popularise the export and consumption of traditional Irish whiskey. Next year we will be able to assess whether these hopeful words of mine have been justified by the facts. However, at this stage a definite legally-binding order for the export of this quantity of whiskey has already been delivered to the Irish company.

We must give some thanks to the American group who came over here also.

We pass votes of thanks to everybody.

Well, the Americans came over here and should get some tribute.

Say something about the Yanks and then he will be happy.

I want to congratulate everybody associated with that enterprise and I hope at the end of 12 months the enterprise will be rewarded and that an export will have been started that, I think, has immense possibilities for us in a country where approximately 11 per cent. of the people are of Irish birth or extraction. In fact I said to the American who came here that if he could get the Irish, and only the Irish, who celebrate St. Patrick's Day, to believe that they could not celebrate it without opening a bottle of Irish whiskey it would more than tax the ability of this country to supply it for this one day in the year. That is a good selling slogan for him if he wants to take it up now.

Put that on the label.

The question of the Shannon boats was raised, I think, by Deputy MacBride and perhaps by Deputy McQuillan, too. At the invitation of certain people I went to have a look at the possibilities of developing the Shannon for tourist purposes and in the hope of bringing back a little life to its quiet and halcyon surroundings. I was impressed by the possibilities of developing the Shannon for tourist purposes and I came to the conclusion that if any other country in Europe had such a magnificient waterway, it would be a source of substantial revenue to that country in the form of tourist traffic. As a result of my visits to the lower and upper reaches of the Shannon I convinced myself that C.I.E. as the national transport authority should be asked to get two boats and as a beginning to run them on the upper and lower reaches of the Shannon. They ought to get two decent-looking boats and pilot the service.

With paddles or propellers?

No, sails, Deputy! C.I.E. were at first reluctant to undertake the enterprise but finally agreed to do it. I hope by putting these two boats on the Shannon, one on the upper reaches and the other on the lower, each carrying about 150 passengers at a time, it will be possible to have the beauties of the Shannon brought to the notice of a larger number of people. I hope it will help to improve the fishing industry around the Shannon, and if we could bring over to this country one in 20 coarse fishermen in England we would not have enough accommodation for them on the banks of the River Shannon.

There would not be enough fish either.

Nor whiskey.

The Deputy is full of gloom this evening.

No, I am full of hope.

The first of these boats will, I hope, be on the Shannon in June and I hope the second one will be ready to sail on the Shannon's waters in August. Again, I hope that this enterprise will be a success and I hope Deputies who represent constituencies on the Shannon, or contiguous to the Shannon, will use their influence to endeavour to popularise this service which I think can bring a good deal of new trade and a wider local, national and overseas interest into many of the sleepy creeks of the River Shannon.

The question of Galway Harbour was raised by Deputy Bartley. I will undertake to the Deputy to have that matter specially examined with a view to ensuring that there will be no avoidable delay.

The question of industrial taxation and the question of allowances for machinery were raised by Deputy Esmonde, but as there is a commission sitting on that matter, and as I understand it is likely to report in the near future, it would, I think, be both undesirable and unwise for me to make any comment on the matter at this stage. I think, therefore, the matter must remain where it is until such time as the commission reports and I understand its report may be expected in the reasonably near future.

Deputy Moran and, I think, some other Deputies raised the question of decentralisation of industry. I have got some information here which might be of interest to those who are particularly concerned with that problem. While it is true that a Minister for Industry and Commerce or any other Minister may be anxious about the decentralisation of industry, an absolute insistence by the Minister or by anybody else on the location of a particular industry is not practicable, as this might often result in the project being abandoned if the promoters and their technical advisers should consider that the location is unsuitable. It must also be recognised that those who are going to invest capital in an enterprise must be the final arbiters of the risks involved and cannot be compelled to take what they might consider to be an undue risk in locating the industry in a particular area.

Some statistics on this question showing the location of industry based on the Census of Industrial Population may be of interest. I put these figures on record so that they may be easily available to somebody who wants them on some future date thus avoiding the necessity of their having to search for them. In the period from 1938 to 1952 the net output of industries located in the County Borough of Dublin and the Borough of Dún Laoghaire increased from £17,000,000 to £49,000,000, that is, an increase of 181 per cent. In the same period the net output for the rest of the country increased from £15,000,000 to £50,000,000.

Does that take into account the fall in the value of the £?

The figures are comparable. I am taking the figures from 1938 to 1952 and whatever applied to one category applied in the other. As I said, the net output for the rest of the country increased from £15,000,000 to £50,000,000, that is, an increase of 237 per cent. The numbers engaged in these industries in the same years in Dublin and Dún Laoghaire increased from 65,000 to 88,000 and in the rest of the country from 87,000 to 114,000. The net output in the Dublin-Dún Laoghaire area was 54 per cent. of the whole in 1938 and this had fallen to 49 per cent. in 1952. The employment ratio showed a slight increase from 42.8 per cent. to 43.5 per cent. These figures would indicate that, despite the degree of industrialisation in and around Dublin, the rest of the country secured a significant proportion of the total increase. I can see, of course, the need for further decentralisation is, perhaps, proved to a greater extent by these figures and it must be the task, by any and every means at the disposal of the Government, whatever its complexion may be, and the House, to try to diffuse industry over a wider area.

The question of An Tóstal was raised by a number of Deputies. I have already explained when discussing the Tourist Traffic Bill in this House that I was most anxious to give An Tóstal a fair chance of succeeding. When I took office it was on a year-to-year basis. Shortly after taking office I realised that the organisers of An Tóstal could not be expected to carry out long-distance programmes on the basis of a year-to-year tenure of office. I told them that as a beginning they could regard themselves as entitled to function for two years. In other words, they were entitled to operate this year and again in 1956, and they knew in 1954 they had those two years to run. In addition to that we altered the time of An Tóstal in the hope that we would take the feature into the better months of the year and thus, perhaps, attract a greater number of tourists.

Decisions on these matters have been taken. The Tóstal Committee of Bord Fáilte has been active in planning a variety of functions throughout the country. I concede that on this issue there can be many honestly held but different views. One person says: "Run it purely as a musical festival; you have nothing to sell that the rest of the world has not to sell, but you have something distinctive in Irish music. Run it on that basis." Another may say: "No. Run it on the basis of your scenic attractions. You have special, unspoiled scenic attractions. Play that card because it is the best one to induce tourists to come here." There are others who suggest that a kind of hippodrome, a variety of things, may also bring tourists.

It is not easy to know which of these is the best plan to adopt. I think it has to be worked very largely on the principle of trial and error; see what works, see what attracts tourists, see what interests our own people and finally come down on the side of whatever appears to be the best feature of the distilled wisdom of all those who have to judge the success or otherwise of the Tóstal functions. However, I think we ought not to be impatient with An Tóstal, that it ought to get a fair chance of living. Annoyance with what was done on O'Connell Bridge or annoyance because of the shortcomings of some function or other ought not to induce us to come to a hasty decision. Remember that if we abandon this, it is abandoned probably for our lifetime. If we kill it now there will not be a resurrection in a year or two. We ought, therefore, to be patient with it and give it a chance. I am in favour of giving it a chance, in favour even of learning the hard way. Let us try to run it and well and good if we do not succeed, let posterity see that we tried it out and at least they will save money in regard to taking any future line of that kind.

When I say An Tóstal ought to get a chance I mean it ought to get a chance on the understanding that it is making some progress and that it is selling itself to our own people and that if we do not get all the tourists we expected at least we got this advantage from it, that we used it annually for a kind of national spring-cleaning in a genuine effort to improve the amenities of life here, to improve the standard of cleanliness in our homes, in our hotels, in our towns, cities and villages. If we only got that advantage out of An Tóstal the advantage would be considerable. If we got that as an enduring advantage in our whole national make-up I think the advantages of An Tóstal could be incalculable in terms of money and in terms of improved national standing. As far as I am concerned, therefore, I am prepared to give An Tóstal a fair chance not only to survive but to succeed, and I hope it will be possible this year to see the feature attract more tourists and to justify my hopes of seeing it continue to success.

A number of other matters have been raised by Deputies but I suppose those who have sat in the House feel that sufficient matters have already been covered in reply. There are other matters of detail with which it would not be possible to deal now and other matters which considerations of time make it undesirable to deal with. What I want to say to the Deputies concerned is that any matter which they raised and which was not dealt with in reply by me will be examined by me and if any Deputy specially interested in any matter which he has raised will indicate to me later on that he is anxious to know the result of my examination of that problem, I will be glad either to see the Deputy or to communicate with him personally.

I mentioned four points. I do not expect the Minister to deal with them now, but if he will undertake to examine them and communicate with me later then I shall be satisfied.

I think the Deputy will agree that it would be unwise to deal publicly with some of them.

Vote put and agreed to.